Collaboration in the Kingdom

Written By: Ed Weaver

At Spoken Worldwide, collaboration is one of our “love languages.” Over the years, through the assist of our valued partners, we’ve shared innovative ways of collaborating in the field in order to amplify the work we do. This efficiency accelerates the speed at which we can work to help fulfill the Great Commission. The greater the collaborative mission community we architect, the better!

Successful collaboration requires a humble approach and willingness to listen, learn, and adapt.

Many of our partners prioritize collaboration when selecting funding opportunities. They seek to learn just how we collaborate by asking direct questions, “Who are you partnering with? How do you collaborate?” This curiosity is welcomed. It often comes from a desire to establish efficiency, thus removing duplication of effort in missions.

There are other motivations for these questions as well. Partners need to manage the multitude of financial requests they receive. To help encourage collaboration, many partners will apply a networking approach, where they deny funding, but offer assist by connecting with other mission groups they support. This is usually communicated as “No, I don’t really have the capacity or interest in funding your organization, but I’d like to help, so please contact this other organization that I DO support and maybe that could create a win for everyone…”

Other resource partners use a “carrot and stick” approach to funding management. “If you, as a ministry, will do (fill in the blank) with this other ministry or group of ministries, we will fund it – if you’re not interested, fine – we’ll find someone else.” Often, this type of approach may not be pursued by a missions group, but it’s an example of the intent and vision that resource partners can provide that individual ministries cannot, due to their respective focus. Spoken is an example of this collaborative approach.

It was a set of catalytic comments and questions from a resource partner that changed our mission and expanded our vision far beyond what we could envision. Questions that influenced our change:

  1. “Can you currently handle the load of launching and managing projects for 90 language groups?”
  2. “If not today, could you scale your organization to the level necessary to do this work all by yourselves?”
  3. “If not, how would you envision accomplishing a task as large as this one?"

As we addressed these questions, our future began to unfold.

Our answer to the first question was equally as daring as the question – “No, we can’t and anyone in the orality space that tells you they can is lying!” (Bold honesty is the best policy.)

But we did believe with enough capital and access to human resources, anything is possible – making our answer to the second question, “Sure. It would take some time and it’s never been done in this missions category, but it’s certainly a possibility.”

The third question was far grander and would require time – time to ponder before we could answer. In fact, we spent months discussing and dialoging before we shared our thoughts with our partner. Why so long? Because at the root of this question was something that exists – whether we like it or not – in every aspect of ministry...competition!!

What exactly do I mean by competition?

Now, we’d like to think that we are all united in the body of Christ, right? We are all on the same team, for goodness sake! We are taught that we are all members of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12 and I like to think the message includes corporate unity as well. However, if we are honest with ourselves as ministry leaders, the natural stance of scarcity and not of abundance is how we operate, rather than taking a collaborative effort on Kingdom work. When we do this, what we’re really saying is we don’t trust our Heavenly Father to care for us. God, and His financial stewards (as distribution channels), think in binary terms. “Well, I can fund that ministry, but not this ministry.” Yet, we all know our God is abundantly creative and innovative as he creates good far greater than anything we could imagine.

How ridiculous is that thinking? God, please forgive us...we are weak-minded and fearful!

So, if we will eliminate competition and binary funding, what can take place?

We begin to think in terms of the Kingdom of God. We begin to talk with our “competitors” and inquire about their strengths and weaknesses. We offer up ours. We begin to think collaboratively and in ways that solve problems we can’t solve on our own with our own resources. We begin to find corners of resources within our organizations that can contribute to a collective effort and, before you know it, we are accomplishing something we never dreamed. This is all because God brought us together with the purpose to fulfill His dream.


How You Can Pray:

Please pray that Spoken discovers more opportunities to collaborate and discover more creative ways to serve the Kingdom of God.

Interested in joining the Spoken Worldwide? Check out our Employment Opportunities.

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“A changed world begins with us … and a changed us begins when we pray.”

- Eugene Peterson

We often take it for granted, but prayer is powerful and always accessible. Deciding to stop and pray for ourselves or others immediately reminds us that there is more going on than what we see. It is the simplest and most powerful way for us to recognize that God is real and at work in the world.

Sign up for monthly updates and prayer requests from the Spoken team regarding specific programs, people and issues around the world. When you get them, remember that God is King and ask Him to bring about lasting change for His glory and our joy.

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