I have internet again! It isn’t working anywhere close to the speed or with the consistency that I was assured it would when we switched to Earthlink, which is frustrating and which means I am spending too much time still talking to Tech people, but at least, I can actually get back to this page to write.
And, lo and behold as I made that decision, #Hope Writers sent out a weekly challenge of various C words to spur creativity and action. I am already a day behind, but I am beginning to catch up on some much needed work which will,hopefully, include this challenge.
The word for Day 1 was #Collaboration. My life has been and continues to be so enhanced by collaborating with others, that I am looking forward to seeing where this goes. For me, it is fun to see how an idea starts, then begins to grow and take shape as people catch the spark. I think this may be one of the reasons I enjoy planning for Vacation Bible Schools and church camps. The finished event brings forth community as accomplishment in meeting a purpose.
One story rose to the forefront as I was pondering collaboration. Many years ago, I was part of an ecumenical clergy group which had the oversight of an agency that provided emergency food, clothes, and aid when needed in our area. It was a wonderful benefit for us as clergy as it made sure someone was there for those in need who could focus on the person and the help needed. We simply had to contribute some of our outreach money and meet monthly as clergy.
During our monthly meetings, we would keep up with how each one was doing and we would pray together. I thoroughly enjoyed these meetings and I would leave feel re-energized. Yet, I noticed that there was an air of discouragement around our collaborative agency. The Presidents of our group seemed to want to cut back our services, our times that we were open, and so on, apparently moving toward complete closure.
Then they made the mistake of making me the new president of the clergy group. (Can you see the mischievous grin on my face?) I was determined that we would not shut this important ministry or let it wither away, but I certainly couldn’t do what was needed on my own. I prayed. I had the group pray and my congregation pray. I suggested a few new names to the nominating committee as did some of the others. This new team met, and the sparks became a fire for good. Ideas for fundraisers which would include the community, not just the churches, were generated along with people willing to take on responsibility. That little fire was stoked even greater as the team went out into the community and drew in help from local businesses. Next, they contacted the mayors of the two cities in our area, who threw their support in. The flames were blazing.
By the time I left that congregation, our little church agency, housed in an old trailer, barely holding it together, had been given a new building on new property. The doors were open every day and budget and job counseling were added to the services offered. An annual race and an annual golf tournament blessed by the community and mayors were firmly in place. It was a miracle that happened right before my very eyes. It just took some collaboration between interested people and a God who cares and loves to bless our working together for others. Let’s work together. Great things are possible!