Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Creative Collaboration

A book that continues to stimulate my thinking about the 21st century church is The Millennium Matrix by Rex Miller. Not only does Miller provide an interesting conceptual framework to understand, interpret, and reenvision the work of the church in these days, but he comes up with generative ideas for action.

For example, he shares this idea about collaboration:

We will see convergence of church, community, commerce, and charity. Greater ecclesiastical integration will extend toward more integration with the community and then further into commerce, providing a latticework for grassroots governance.

Miller’s idea is especially interesting because he has used his training in communications and theology in working with the real estate industry, community service, and charitable organizations. He has immersed himself in all of the areas he mentions above. He is a believer who has engaged all of these areas. As a result, I think he has a unique perspective from which to offer this suggestion.

As the church returns to a most grassroots orientation, we have a special opportunity to engage with our neighbors, local business owners, corporations in our community, and charitable organizations. This will allow us to pool not only resources in a time of economic tightness but to reconceptualize what it means to serve one’s community.

Asset-based community development is based on the idea that we accept responsibility for the situation in which we find ourselves, begin with the resources we have, focus on the doable, and take the initiative. By marshalling the resources of church, community, commerce, and charity, major local needs can be addressed and met with limited outside control or support.

There are examples of churches here and there that are living out Miller’s idea. I would love to learn about more!

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