Relationships and Facilitators – A response to Mark Avery

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

Thank you, Mark for an excellent analysis and a real challenge to make Partnering a reality rather than lip-service.  There would be great value in turning your analysis into a checklist for evaluating ‘Partnering Capacity’.

There’s a couple more things I would like to add to that list: 

The first is the willingness to build deep, personal relationships with potential partners – not just working relationships, but real, personal bonds at multiple levels, learning to love them as well as work with them.  Michael Schluter of the Relationships Institute has written a lot of helpful material on the ‘how-to’ of this at an organisational level.

The second is to go a step further than appointing a ‘go-between’.  The most valuable contribution an organisation can make is to release this person to act as an independent facilitator responsible only to the partnership as a whole.

For ten years I worked on partnership development with Interdev, seeing more than 90 partnerships come into being.  When I left Interdev to become CEO of the European Christian Mission, I found it impossible to build multi-lateral partnerships from the inside – I no longer had credibility as an independent facilitator.  I had to release someone else to do that job with the same independence that I’d exercised previously as a partnership specialist.

Connect with others who share your desire for collaboration  

See over 70 short videos from global practitioners about actual partnerships.