First, an analogy.
Say you need some bread. Maybe to make some toast, or a sandwich, or to feed some birds (that part doesn’t matter). There are many ways to get to the end result of having some bread. One option is to ask someone to give you bread or to buy it from the store. The bread is ready to go and you are off to the races making that sandwich.
Another option is to make the bread yourself. But that takes time.
There is this thing called sourdough starter. It is a live, fermented culture of fresh flour and water. According to many, it makes the best bread. But you have to feed it and nurture it. It takes work.
Many churches come to us saying they are ready to plant a church and ask the question, “Where can I find a planter?” Not a bad question. But let us get a little ahead of the game on this conversation. We don’t have planters ready for you to plant. We certainly have planters that you can support. They do need support. But we want to challenge you: if you are considering collaborating with us, look inside your church and at your leadership pipeline and ask yourself the question, “Who could plant in a few years?” Let’s start working with that person now.
Working with the Collaborative is like us offering you sourdough starter.
Being a part of the Collaborative can be described practically in alignment with our 3 strategic values.
We Identify Leaders Through Relationships.
We want you to be identifying and developing leaders in your church. An easy way to think about this is that we want you to put some of your leaders through our assessment process each year. And for Collaborative Churches it is free. For this assessment process, we use our development grid and our 9 point church leader profile to create a development plan. This process is open to any staff, not just those considering planting. It takes 5 minutes of your time, around 3 hours for your staff member, and we send you a report that helps kickstart their development.
If you are considering becoming a part of the Collaborative, this is one of the best ways to see what it is like to partner with us. Even before you are a part of the Collaborative, we will give you the whole plan and even do a few assessments for you.
We Support Each Other Like Family
The care that exists in our Collaborative does not come primarily from the Collaborative staff team but from the support that all of our churches give each other. We want the leaders at the highest level of your church to be engaged with leaders from around the Collaborative. It is helpful, but not required, that you have an existing relationship with one of our planters. If you really want to be a part of the family, we will help you make those connections. Family is the water that our collaboration swims in, it isn’t an option.
We Champion Multiplication
When one Collaborative Church plants a church, we all plant a church. We ask that you help us train all the planters coming out of Collaborative Churches. The financial partnership requires that each church give 1% of their internal giving to the Collaborative direction and 1% of their internal giving to a new Collaborative Church.
The process for becoming a part of the Collaborative feels more like a conversation as we inch our way into making these three values a reality of our relationship. It can be a one or two year process and culminates with introduction at our annual retreat in April.