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Kingdom Relationships of Trust - A response to Mark Avery

Author: Mark Oxbrow
Date: 10.06.2012
Category: Partnership

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To facilitate a truly global conversation, we ask Christian leaders from around the world to respond to the Global Conversation’s lead articles. These points of view do not necessarily represent the Lausanne Movement. They are designed to stimulate discussion from all points of the compass and from different segments of the Christian community. Please add your perspective by posting a comment so that we can learn and grow together in the unity of the Spirit.

A response to Mark Avery’s article: From the Inside Out: Developing Partnership Capacity of an Organisation

‘Partnership’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Koinonia’, ‘Community’ – what language can we use? Dr. Mark Avery illustrates this struggle as he moves from ‘partnership’ in his title to ‘collaboration’ in his first sub-heading and then immediately ‘partnership and collaboration’ in the next line. But this is more than just about language, it is about power, about dependency, about our ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, and our desire (or not) to enter an eschatological Kingdom in which ‘the other’ ceases to have meaning.

Working as an advocate for collaboration, I found Avery’s article both inspirational and very practical. In his rationale for collaboration I found myself longing for something a little more theological. The theology of the Trinity, especially in its more recent expressions, leaves us no room but to collaborate, to build koinonia, to discover what ‘community’ really means. We talk of the ‘missions community’ but rarely explore what that might mean theologically!

My experience in fostering collaboration between forty international mission agencies is that it all comes down, as Avery suggests, to people – people who learn to trust each other. I love his idea of a ‘go-between’ and was reminded that J V Taylor spoke of the Holy Spirit as the ‘Go-between God’ building relationships that flower into Kingdom community. When Avery goes on to talk about the nature of organizations I was somewhat surprised to find no mention of recent developments, within the secular sphere, of new egalitarian networked organizations (Ref. Brafman,O. & Beckstrom,R.A. The Starfish and the Spider) – but I fully appreciate his aspiration to “jump from conversions measured as outputs to the presence of God’s Kingdom in the world measured in outcomes” and the need to collaborate to get there. 

Mark Oxbrow is the International Director, Faith2Share.

Connect with others who share your desire for collaboration www.powerofconnecting.net   See over 70 short videos from global practitioners about actual partnerships. Youtube.com/visionSynergy

Keywords: Lausanne, partnership, collaboration, theology, trust, community, kingdom, Mark Oxbrow

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PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Rinchen (3)  
United States

Thanks Mark-- I appreciate the feedback and comments! The Starfish and the spider is a great resource on the idea of an organization that spreads itself out by replicating itself (rather than by trying to run every decision through a central command post). That more ’network’ form of organiszation is often seen in real-estate, where independent contractors sell houses under the ’brand’ of an agency, but operate more-or-less autonomously. Many Church Planting sending groups are trying to move in that direction, but finding it a challenge.
I whole heartedly agree with your thoughts on the Trinity and it’s implications for us in the work. We are already one in Christ; what we do after that either reflects or ignores that fundamental state! I have attached here a few resources on the theology of partnership as a resource prepared for a course I teach at Fuller: An anotated bibliography on the Theology of partnership, soem catalytic statements on the subject, and a paper on how the Trinity applies to the theology of partnership. I’d greatly value feedback on any/all of them!
I think at this point, the idea of a "backbone organization" reflects what I percieve to be the best and most workable form of collaboration. I have attached a stanford artical on the subject here also. On some of it, mission work is strong, but on the ideas of developing shrared metrics and creating a coordinating hub we are sometimes a little weaker.
Blessings and thank you for your comments!
POST SCRIPT: I do not seem to be able to upload these docs (getting an error message). Will try again later. My email is rinchen@eroam.net if you would like them by email. Blessings!

Downloadable Attachments


28.06.2012
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Rinchen (3)  
United States
@ Rinchen:

Here’s the other docs :-)

Downloadable Attachments


28.06.2012
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down edwardneil_benavidez (0)
Philippines
@ Rinchen: Dear Mr. Mark Avery,


I am a part time research student of Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, Oxford, UK. I am currently based in the Philippines and doing a research on collaboration of Christian churches and Christian Development Organisations. I came across your article "Why Not Collaborate" and I am trying to get access to this article in Power of Connecting, at http://www.powerofconnecting.net/content/why-not-collaborate, But the site is not available anymore. May I request a copy of this article? Could you share it here or email to me at ebenavidez@ocms.ac.uk? Also, the annotated bibliography that you shared here is indeed helpful in understanding different biblical perspectives on partnerships and collaboration explaining the "why" of collaboration. In my research, I would like to explore more also on the "how" of Christian collaboration. There is an abundant resource on how to’s and on collection of success stories of Christian collaboration, but with regards to empirical researches, they seem difficult to find. Could you link me or share to me some researches that you are aware of? I would greatly appreciate it.

17.07.2012
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Mark_O (0)  
United Kingdom
@ edwardneil_benavidez:

Edward,  There is an archive copy of Mark Avery’s article at http://injesus.com/message-archives/teaching-education/Visionary/why-not-collaborate-by-mark-avery  if you still need it.


Also, I’m based in Oxford, UK and my ministry is really all about building collaboration in mission so I would enjoy meeting you next time you are in residence at OMSC.  I work closely with Dr. Wonsuk Ma and am in and out of OMSC quite often.  The network I serve is Faith2Share  www.faith2share.net   If you would like to meet email me at mark,oxbrow@faith2share.net when you are next in Oxford.   Mark Oxbrow


17.07.2012
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down edwardneil_benavidez (0)
Philippines
@ Rinchen:

Dr. Mark Avery, are you the author of the article "Trinity and Unity in Mission"? I am just asking for bibliographic info.


17.07.2012
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Rinchen (3)  
United States
@ edwardneil_benavidez:

HI Edward, yes, I am the author.  So glad that you can connect with Mark O in Oxford!  That’s great :-)  May the Lord bless your time together.  lets connect on Skype-- my Skype ID is RinchenSonam (a Tibetan name).  I look forward to talking!  Blessings

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18.07.2012
PhContributeBy
Reply Flag 0 Thumbs Up Thumbs Down Mark_O (0)  
United Kingdom
@ edwardneil_benavidez:

Edward, thank you for the dates when you will be in Oxford - we will meet then.  I would like to continue this conversation "off line" so can you please send me an email so I can contact you that way.  My email is mark.oxbrow@faith2share.net  Thank you.  MARK


18.07.2012

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PhContributeBy Mark_O 
 
Location: Oxford
Country: United Kingdom

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