Back from Canada I have been plunged into preparation for my next major happening - the annual Forum for the New Kind of Preacher Program. Scheduled for October 1st at Northern Seminary in Lombard its theme will be COLLABORATION. Advertising has gone out inviting all preachers everywhere! Speakers are lined up, including one who will describe how collaboration works in their ministry. I am speaking a couple of times and rounding it off, in hopes that the forum will spawn some new peer learning groups among preachers for the next two years.
Collaboration is both gloriously adventurous and seriously threatening. Gloriously adventurous because it brings the best out of us when we are willing to work together, giving our best to a common purpose rather than caught up in competition and rivalry. It continues to amaze me how Jesus - the most complete human being there has ever been - chose to work with disciples who became friends in spite of their flaws, and who he deemed as so necessary to his mission.
But for many preachers I admit the sound of collaboration is seriously threatening. It is so easy when you open up to someone else's insights and experiences to feel less secure - especially when you are preparing sermons. There are so many reasons to ride ahead as lone rangers!
I believe that part of God's challenge on October 1st. will push preachers to see past the reasons (and defences) for working solo and open hearts and minds to working with others as never before. I shall keep you in the picture as it develops.