I’m in South Africa speaking at the African Christian Media Conference, and one of the biggest questions leaders in this country face is how to partner to make a greater impact in the culture. Getting churches, ministries, nonprofits and similar organizations to join together to launch a nationwide campaign – particularly in the media – is a challenge everywhere. But that challenge isn’t new. The Bible charts the story of leaders like Moses, David, Paul, and even Jesus struggling to unite the people of their time. After all, one of the last prayers of Jesus was for believers to be united as one. But today, trying to get major media (and other) ministries and/or churches to cooperate for a great cause is nearly impossible. To change that situation, here’s a list of reasons why it’s difficult, and a list of recommendations that will make that type of cooperation more likely to happen:
Reasons Church and Ministry Cooperation is a Challenge:
1) Many leaders consider cooperation more like competition. They worry that joining together with other churches or ministries may cost them church members or donors. We often criticize this, but the bottom line is that it’s true. Like it or not, it’s a big reason that keeps us from cooperating.
2) People and organizations are called to different things (which is a good thing.) It’s understandable that getting organizations with vastly different missions find it difficult to work together. So don’t get bent out of shape when you pitch Focus on the Family an idea for a campaign to reach business leaders. Because after all, their focus is on the family.
3) Nobody gets as excited about your ideas as you do. No matter how awesome you may believe your idea is – or whether or not it’s from God – don’t be surprised when others don’t catch the same vision. We’re human. Deal with it.
4) We need to understand the limitations of large churches, ministries, and nonprofits. The truth is, major organizations can’t turn on a dime. They have large numbers of employees, programs and strategic plans already in motion. As a result, they are geared toward the goal of completing their mission, not yours. Even when they’re open to your idea, it often takes a vast effort for them to make it happen.
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An internationally known writer and speaker, Phil Cooke has actually produced media programming in nearly 50 countries around the world. In the process, has been shot at, survived two military coups, fallen out of a helicopter, and in Africa, been threatened with prison. And during that time – through his company Cooke Pictures in Burbank, California – he’s helped some of the largest nonprofit organizations and leaders in the world use the media to tell their story in a changing, disrupted culture.