Collaborations: A new way to think about your church
If your church is thinking about collaboration you are not alone. Many congregations find that they can accomplish more through cooperation than competition. One can even make the argument that collaboration follows the spirit of the New Testament churches. On a practical level, collaboration can help churches concentrate more resources on mission and less on maintenance.
This site grew out of research conducted by ChurchFuture for a cluster of churches that wanted to explore their options. We found that information about collaborations is scattered and difficult to pull together. We also found very little objective data about the success rate of collaborations. We were happily surprised, however, at the creativity we found in congregations throughout the United States.
The purpose of this web site is to share the results of our ongoing research and to provide a starting point for congregations that want to explore collaboration. The site also includes what we’ve learned about results. We found that some of the forms of collaboration that are the most appealing during the talking phase are the hardest to put into action, and we found little-known forms of collaboration that work amazingly well.
The site includes case studies from both mainline and evangelical churches, but the perspective of is primarily mainline protestant. Most of the data on congregations comes from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.
How to use this site
The next nine pages describe nine options or models for collaboration. Each option includes a description, some case study information, and the information we have about the track record of the option. The Resources pages includes lots of articles and handbooks, most of which you can download from this site. The How-to-Guide can help you start to explore the possibilities of collaboration with your own congregation.
Who sponsors this web site?
This site is provided by ChurchFuture of Minneapolis to share, free of charge, what we've learned from our research and our work with churches and clusters of churches during the past nine years. David Raymond, the principle of ChurchFuture, is a business owner who has served as a facilitator, consultant, and coach for a number of congregational collaborations. He is also involved in training other coaches at the synodical level. Raymond can be available to advise and help guide your congregation or cluster in exploring a successful collaboration. See the Coach/Consultant page for more information.