Why are Christian institutions often isolated? What creates opportunities to relate effectively with one another and with other institutions in the larger society?
Many Christian institutions have a big vision, limited capacity and few strong relationships. To have lasting impact, such institutions are challenged to work differently and with each other.
Institutions create spaces that shape and pattern human life. One of the keys to addressing the challenges of limited capacity is to strengthen relationships with partners that do similar work shaping human life. Identifying such partners requires leaders to articulate how and why their institutions do this work and to develop a means of assessing the similarities of others.
Another key to creating stronger relationships is to invite others to work with your institution on a problem that is so challenging no one is sure where to start. Tackling such “wicked” problems with several stakeholders requires both building relationships and doing important work that stretches everyone involved in healthy ways.
Christian institutions often are constrained by limited resources, which can cause fear and isolation. Focusing on building relationships in such a time may seem counter-intuitive. Yet a vision of God’s reign and a sense of how our institution contributed to God’s work pulls our eyes to a longer view that provides hope that counteracts fear.