Collaborate and Conquer
by Jeri Howe
Feeling Stuck? Overwhelmed? Forget “divide and conquer,” Christianity is a collaborative way of life. We all need others. Collaborate and conquer the difficulties you were never meant to face alone!
To collaborate means to cooperate and work with others. Christianity is not an individual enterprise. We are all gifts to one another, even—no, especially—when we see things differently!
What I Appreciate About this Leadership Concept:
- Every leader fears hitting their limits; collaboration means our limits are catalysts to invite others into the project.
- Collaboration increases connection with our collaborators – and we can use all the unity we can get! It also gives more people opportunities and experience. In this way, collaboration builds up the body of Christ.
- Collaboration increases our connection with our audience. Those with different perspectives can see where we are blind, have had experiences we haven’t had, and can identify with people in our audience.
- Collaboration also brings together a variety of strengths—no one is good at everything! Collaborating means we can leave the stuff we struggle with in more gifted hands, leaving us free to do what we excel at doing.
Paul wrote to the Romans about being “mutually encouraged” by one another (Romans 1:11-12), and he invited them to partner with him in an upcoming mission to Spain (Romans 15:24). Paul saw the Roman Christians he wrote to as collaborators and partners.
Christians are a body of many members. Each member is valuable and has contributions to make. All members need to be vitally connected to one another and cooperate with each other for the good of all (Romans 12:3-8).
The radio show, Survival Skills for Everyday Living, was collaborative from beginning to end. Lisa Troyer from Circle of Friends secured the meeting with the radio station and presented the idea of doing a show in Michigan like they were doing in her home state. I attended the meeting and, as the local person, I became the spearhead of the show in my home state. Once the pitch was accepted, the show required a rotating round table of women leaders. I immediately invited in a friend of mine, Tami Walker, who is great at making connections with women from a variety of life experiences, and together we built the team of women who would be the panel for our round table discussion. Each one of them brought insights neither Tami nor I would have had. The show was helpful to the audience because of the depth of collaboration. I would not have thought it up myself; I needed Lisa. I could never have made it happen myself; that required Tami. And I could never have made up those conversations myself; that took the team. And it was a blast!
Practical Application Ideas
In improv comedy class, they teach a game called “yes… and.” Whatever your partner says, you have to responds with “yes… and…” This means you have to accept what they are saying and build on it. It’s a great exercise in learning to collaborate! Try it out at a gathering or family dinner.
Take a moment to reflect. Where are you hitting roadblocks? Where could you use another perspective? Or maybe someone else’s expertise? Where could you offer to help someone else and be part of their project? What fears might keep people from collaborating with others? I look forward to reading your comments.
Consider attending the Speak Up Conference. It’s a great place to meet other people who speak, write and lead, build relationships, and get new perspectives! With the help of Speak Up, your next collaborative enterprise could launch in July! You can sign up for a one-on-one ZOOM meeting with Jeri after registering for the July 14-16 conference.
This article is part of the 26-week Leadership A to Z blog series on counter-intuitive and counter-cultural leadership concepts inspired by the New Testament that Jeri is launching July 21 as a follow-up to her breakout session of the same name at the 2021 Speak Up Conference. Check out her session at the conference and then visit www.jerihowe.com to find out more about the series.
Jeri Howe enjoys speaking and leading workshops at conferences, churches, and women’s community groups. She is passionate about sharing God’s truth in practical ways. Jeri has written Bible studies and self-published a short Christian novel, Kamea. She was also the executive producer and co-moderator of a daily, hour-long radio show called Survival Skills for Everyday Living. She is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity Degree at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary.