Guiding Partnership Principles
- Ministry partnership is a process, not an event. You can kill a Partnership by just calling a meeting without doing proper advance work.
- Effective Partnerships are built on relationships of trust. Take time to get to know the potential participants: who they are, what they do, what is their vision, etc. Listen hard!
- When a group meets ask one key question: “Is there anything we might do more effectively together on project XXXX, than if we continued to work independently?”
- Set limited, achievable, high-value objectives. Avoid trying to do too much. Make sure what you choose to do has value to everyone and that there is a clear plan for how that objective will be realized ̶ together. It is important that every member values the Partnership and has a sense of ownership!
- Celebrate diversity in unity. Ministry Partnerships have their greatest value when they link needed and valuable yet different resources.
- Discover who can serve as a Champion for the vision in each participating church or community agency. This person will be your on-going Facilitator who can:
- Help the group work through issues.
- Assure that each group member carries out his or her role.
- Make sure communication is regular and thorough ̶ particularly on progress, key issues, and milestones.
Partnership Process Makes A Difference
- Your team Champion/Facilitator should meet personally with everyone who has expressed interest in the vision to get to know them, their vision, and if they agree with the value of jointly asking the question:
“Is there anything we might do more effectively together on project XXXX
than if we continued to work independently?”
- If you decide to call a meeting, ensure everyone has a copy of the draft agenda of that exploration meeting in advance. Encourage feedback to the facilitation team prior to the initial meeting or, at a minimum, at the outset of the meeting.
- At the outset of the initial meeting make the limited objectives of the meeting clear to all. The vision should be compelling but you can’t try to do too much in the beginning when a group has never worked together before! Make sure the group understands and is committed to that approach. Return to it at least mid-point and at the end to see how you are doing on your stated objective.
- A typical initial meeting takes time. Achieving something of lasting value takes more than one hour with a group that has never met before! Here are some of the things you will likely need to cover in that first meeting:
- Background to the meeting itself ̶ the overall vision you are exploring together.
- Allow each group member to introduce themselves, share something of their background and why they’re interested in the topic/issue.
- What is the history on the issue being addressed? What is the current status of the opportunity or need?
- What are the primary roadblocks keeping such a vision from being realized?
- What steps could be taken to address that particular roadblock ̶ together?
- Of the options for possible joint action, which would seem to be the most doable and have the greatest impact?
- Once an action plan is established determine who will do what, when it will be done and who will provide the communication/feedback for the group?
Following these steps will go a long way toward a successful ministry partnership