I met Jay on the plane yesterday afternoon. He pastors a church in what he referred to as a “fishing village” near New Orleans – Weswego. Our conversation ranged widely as any can when two pastors get together. The church Jay pastors received an invitation to participate in a partnership. Six or seven different people, institutions, entities combine to offer his church a resource otherwise unavailable. In our denomination we would refer to that as cooperation.
In Joe Myers’ Organic Community, he suggests the need to move from cooperation to collaboration. I have long been interested in collaboration. When Spencer invited me to help him with ETREK I was intrigued by the thought off “collaborative learning journeys.” Central to our project is the understanding we learn from one another regardless of a given educational framework – professor to student. I read with interest chapter 7 – “Coordination: harmonized energy – moving from cooperation to collaboration.”
Joe asserts cooperation is really about those in charge rallying everyone in an organization to agree to his/her plans. We often solicit input until it alters our agenda. It works something like this, a group is given the assignment of developing a theme for an entire convention of churches. Once the theme is approved the process moves to soliciting cooperation. The process disallows adjustment as the agenda has been set.
Joe describes a meeting where a group of employees have been given the impression they have been asked to serve on a developmental team – their ideas are wanted. Once at the first meeting the manager offers a three-ring binder complete with a plan to approve. No collaboration. Rather how could those around the table subjugate their thoughts/ideas to the plan already developed. People are reduced to support personnel and are ignored for their creativity, expertise and imaginations.
Jay and I discussed the assertion by some in “power” in our denomination who misunderstand the “dissenting” present in our convention. People are marginalized by the suggestion those in dissent want places of prominence without the history of service. Instead, what is really at work is an energetic group of young pastors want the wisdom of their mentors with the opportunity to collaborate with them rather than be solicited by them. I heard just yesterday of a couple of bloggers who will be rewarded for their loyalty and cooperation with those in power – they will receive nominations to serve. This in spite of the incendiary remarks often made by at least one toward those with whom he disagrees. It seems cooperation really does mean “do it my way.”
Collaboration is a better way forward. People are empowered. Imagination and creativity are honored. Learning becomes a two-way process rather than an interplay between dispensers and receptors.
Order Organic Community today.