When it comes to what we do in Ausitn and beyond, collaboration is key. We value and respect our partners, and would hope to never do anything to compromise our relationships with them. This is not a number's game to us, this is about establishing lasting relationships for the renewal and restoration of Austin. We have spent the last three years building and developing lasting relationships on the below six values, that we have come to call: Six Steps to Effective Partnerships:
1. Start with a common redemptive purpose*: When we look at our world today through the lens of the gospel, we see a God whose heart is broken for the AIDS victim, the orphan, the enslaved, and the oppressed, and we find nothing in the scriptures that tells us we shold only partner with other Christian organizations to serve them. In fact, if we understand the idea of the 'man of peace' correctly, in order to love and serve the broken and oppressed in our city and world, we need to find other non-profits in our city who have similar redemptive purposes. The one thing that qualifies a nonprofit for partnersip is not whether it's a Christian organization, but rather whether they are serving the least of these much like the church should be.
4. Lose your agenda*: All too often the church walks into a situation or parntership with an agenda. You have to remember that you are coming to serve the agenda of the nonprofti partner, and ou can do this because you have "shared redemptive purposes."
2. Prioritize developing relationships*: You will run into differences partnering with nonfaith as well as faith-based non-proftis when worldviews collide. From Christian to Christian, church to church, and denomination to denomination we vary in our beliefs. So, it is to be expected that from the Christian world to the non-Christian world there will be some huge differences. The remedy for this is simply relationships. It is not enough to just do work for a nonprofit; rather it is worth the effort to begin to build relationships with key leaders in the nonprofti you wish to work with. A solid nonagenda-oriented relationship will take you beyond any worldview difference you may run into.
5. Give away the credit*: This is not about you. This is not about the nonprofit. This is about the opportunity to serve those about whom Jesus is deeply concerned - the oppressed, broken, and poor. If you are willing to partner with local nonproftis who have spent years bulding credibility in different areas of service, take a backseat, and don't seek a name through this. Be willing to follow them. Trust that God has partnered you with them and humbly allow them to lead you as you serve their cause.
3. Trust their leadership*: If you've found that you can't trust their leadershp, then move on to a different nonprofit. Don't try to question or change what they do. We have to trust that their wheel has already been invented, and our changing things will only complicate things. We often spend too much time trying to invent something that is already working. The point is not coming up with our own deal in order to take credit. As the church, we are to lead people into a kingdom life. The best way to do this is to allow them to enter into environments of service as easily as possible. We need to jump on board with what is already happening so that the people we are leading have the greatest opprotunity to spend their time actually serving.
6. Commit to be available*: There is nothing that builds credibility like being on call for what you claime to believe in. There is a stigma with nonfaith-based nonprofits that the church is only willing to serve on their time, with their agenda, and with their specs. We begin to tangibly deconstruct the view of the church held by many outside of the church world when we are willing to be on call to the redemptive purposes we claim to believe in.
*these are expounded on in the book, Barefoot Church, by Brandon Hatmaker