On New Years Day, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran articles about making and keeping New Year’s resolutions. Among them were tips provided by financial gurus for managing wealth. I liked the visionary statement from Jim Winkelman, principal with Blue Ocean Portfolios in Clayton, Missouri, who said, “For a person to become rich in all aspects of their lives, they need to learn to collaborate.”
I am about to reveal the key to successful living, the Holy Grail for living a grand life, a fulfilling life, even a very, very rich life.
I could go on and on about what collaboration is doing for my business. I am an interior designer. I could go on about what collaboration has done to help my family. My focus for our purposes is what collaboration can do to help Latter-day Saints better enjoy the fellowship of their community.
I have learned again and again that in many of our activities to build the Kingdom, we are more effective if we work with others who are not of our faith. Did you catch that? We “need” to work with those not of our faith in order to build the Kingdom of God.
I don’t like to share negative examples, but I think this one is instructive. There was a public affairs council that wanted to reach out to ministers in their area. They decided to host a monthly breakfast meeting for ecclesiastical leaders to fellowship and talk about issues facing the community. They invited local ministers to attend this meeting only to learn that a monthly meeting of clergy had already existed for years!
Let’s learn this lesson once: to involve the community in an activity, involve the community in the planning process! Collaborate.
Now by contrast, think for a minute about Ammon’s example. Why didn’t he take the Sons of Mosiah with him to the hostile territory of the Lamanites? Didn’t he need their help? Wouldn’t he enjoy working with his fellow comrades, friends who shared his beliefs? Did he think he could do it alone? Ammon knew he could serve the community by working with others, beyond his circle of friends and fellow-saints, even those he had not worked with previously and those who did not share his beliefs.
As I mentioned previously, the O’Fallon Stake Public Affairs Committee is planning a large event to celebrate Black History in East St. Louis. In planning and executing this event they are involving members of the community to lead and to sit on committees. The community friends are providing guidance to the public affairs council regarding key organizational issues such as who to partner with and where and when to hold the event. The friends are joining their regular council meetings by conference call. Some friends have offered to join in prayer. O’Fallon Stake is an excellent example of thinking outside the cultural hall. By partnering with community friends they are enlarging their capacity to serve!
How can your Church or family council collaborate with community friends to more effectively accomplish the purposes of your programs? I offer the following process:
- Start by thinking about what you want to achieve (your purpose/ mission statement) and what activity might help you accomplish that goal.
- Then brainstorm about like-minded friends within your community who would enjoy working with you.
- Brainstorm with community friends and gather their ideas.
- Make plans and involve your friends in the planning, whether formally or informally.
You’ll be rolling in no time!
Here are some ideas to jump start your thinking:
- Youth leaders might work with rotary club members to host a career night and invite friends to give presentations.
- The Relief Society could partner with the YMCA to help literacy efforts.
- The High Priest group might work with genealogical societies to host family history activities.
- A family could host a family home evening block party with the Fire Department to help the family and neighbors be better prepared for disaster.
Bishops and stake presidents can help members learn to collaborate by asking auxiliary leaders this question: What community friends can we partner with for that activity? And teach them the process.
Think outside the cultural hall! Collaborate by partnering - formally or informally – to do your work, whatever the work, better. You’ll be richly blessed as your capacity to serve and your circle of friends is enlarged.
Please share with us examples of Latter-day Saints who have been blessed by collaborating with community friends.