A few summers ago, I had the privilege of spending the day with Brad Lomenick (Executive Director of Catalyst Conferences). He was gracious enough to come to Charlotte and speak at CharlotteONE to close out our summer series. While we had him in town, we decided to host a round-table discussion with 50 local church pastors and key staff on the topic of “Collaboration among local churches: Is it needed and healthy?”
I didn’t know how Brad was going to set the table for the discussion, but I just about came out of my shoes with his opening statement. Standing in front of a room full of influential church leaders in our city, he said:
“This afternoon, we are going to have a candid conversation about collaboration among local churches and before we begin, let me just say, whether we are comfortable with it or not, it’s already here…“
You could have heard a pin drop in the room. You could feel the tension and the excitement. You could sense the awkwardness of having someone point out a truth that was not convenient to hear. A truth that we all sensed was quickly approaching, but didn’t realize was upon us. A truth that was going to challenge us, stretch us and require a response from us.
He went on to give several examples of how culture has embraced the idea of collaboration (from the iPad to Kickstarter.com) and how the next generation of leaders are embracing collaboration as an essential element in achieving Christ’s mission. He went on to state how the days of individualization and privatization among local churches are coming to a close and new generation of church leaders are emerging and a new paradigm of achieving Christ’s mission is on the horizon. A paradigm with collaboration and unity at the core. A paradigm where local churches aren’t going to be interested in what they can own as much as what they can offer…together.
Is collaboration among local churches needed and healthy? It was a fun discussion. However, one thing was clear:
It’s already here.