Editor’s note: This was originally published on a blog by our friends, ChinaSource, on July 5, 2017.
Whether it’s outreach to Chinese studying abroad or equipping a new generation of Chinese Christians to serve cross-culturally, some tasks are simply too big for any one organization, no matter how well-run or well-resourced they may be. These efforts require a network of likeminded groups, all working from their respective strengths in pursuit of a common goal. Here Kärin Butler Primuth, CEO of visionSynergy, discusses the characteristics of high-impact networks.
1. Why, and when, are networks needed?
Networks are needed when organizations go after a God-sized goal that is larger than any one of them, but which aligns with the purpose of each one. It’s the purpose that keeps them moving in the same direction, working together toward that shared goal. What’s especially important is that the purpose is clear and compelling. It must be clear so each agency or person knows what they can contribute and potentially gain by participating. It must be compelling so people are motivated to invest their limited time and will keep investing in the face of challenges or limited progress.
2. Who makes the network happen?
Networks are all about the people in them. Ideally these should be the ones who are the most influential, most interested, and most involved in whatever sphere the network is working. But they know they cannot do it by themselves. The network provides a place to share information and explore potential collaboration. It facilitates their secure communication. The way people work together is vital to the success of any network.
To achieve this requires leaders who are competent, called, and committed to the shared goals, able to cross theological divides, and build consensus among people who may be very different. The qualities desired in network leadership are not the same as organizational leadership. Network leaders appreciate and creatively build on the gifts and vision of others rather than trying to control the process. They focus on what unites, rather than what divides, and work to build a culture of trust where all voices are heard and valued.
3. How do you get from vision to reality in a network?
The process transforms vision into action, generating activity by setting clear, limited goals that are achievable. It develops structures for planning and decision making, providing clear opportunities for involvement. It takes time to evaluate what’s happening and, finally, to celebrate progress. Each of these steps is necessary for the development of a healthy and effective network which, when empowered by God’s Spirit, can achieve far more than any individual or organization can accomplish on their own.
Mission China 2030 | Hong Kong
The face of world mission is about to change dramatically!
This September, Kärin Primuth (CEO, visionSynergy), Brent Fulton (President, ChinaSource), and David Hackett (Senior Advisor, visionSynergy) were invited to speak in Hong Kong at Mission China 2030 – the biggest Chinese missionary-sending initiative in history.
Having spent four years in China, Kärin expressed what a remarkable experience it was for her to join with hundreds of Chinese who came together to consider God’s call to mobilize thousands of missionaries from China over the next fifteen years.
Mission China 2030
More than 900 house church pastors and leaders from China gathered around the challenge of planting thousands of churches in China, reaching the hundreds of Chinese minority people groups, and mobilizing at least 20,000 Chinese missionaries by the year 2030.
- By Vision Synergy
Our friends from Issachar Initiative recently invited visionSynergy CEO, Kärin Primuth, to explore mission networks on their blog. In her post, Kärin outlines the who, what, and why of mission networks as she describes the power of collaboration to accomplish more in the mission field than any one person or agency could accomplish alone.
Be sure to check out the resources Kärin mentions to discover the networks you can work with right now!
“Do you have a vision to reach an unreached people group or a particular part of the world? If it is a God-sized vision, then it is a vision far too big for just one church or ministry to accomplish alone. It will take working together with others in the Body of Christ for real spiritual breakthroughs to occur.
“In today’s increasingly interconnected world, mission networks are providing vital connecting points for like-minded leaders to find others who share a similar vision to collectively achieve the mission God has put on their hearts.”
For more about mission networks with some questions for reflection, see Kärin’s Slideshare presentation from the MissioNexus Mission Leaders Forum in Dallas, Texas: “Stand Together in High Impact Networks.”
Finally, check out these visionSynergy-related posts at the Issachar Initiative:
- Partnership Training for Oral Cultures, by Joe Handley
- What’s Getting in the Way?: The Five Greatest Roadblocks to Engagement, by Phill Butler
- Partnerships & Strategic Alliances: A Harvard Business School Idea or a God Strategy?, by Phill Butler