As part of a 50-year initiative to promote the common good in Orlando, The Collaborative has been purposefully designed to help people connect the dots between work and faith. Strategically developed, the program equips workers to think beyond the pay check and find deeper meaning in the place they spend most of their waking hours: their job.
The Collaborative serves individuals working in the arts, economics, and government. Teaching the principles of how faith and work can be integrated, the Collaborative helps people make better day-to-day decisions, which in turn promote cultural and economic renewal in Orlando.
Why The Collaborative?
Traditional marketplace ministries have successfully paved the path for The Collaborative to reach even further into the culture. There was, and continues to be, a real need for workplace evangelism, business ethics, and leadership development. The historic focus in these areas has produced amazing fruit and helped disciple amazing numbers of business leaders. While beneficial and effective, this is not the focus of The Collaborative.
First, The Collaborative is not a para-church ministry. Gratefully, marketplace ministries emerged in the American context in the 1970s and 1980s because the Church was not doing such work. As was the case with student ministry and Young Life and Cru, Christians responded to the call of God and developed effective, dynamic ministry outside the structure of the local congregation.
A generation later, recognizing the need for such outreach and ministry focus, The Collaborative is the church’s response, albeit delayed, to the role of work, vocation and industry direction for the purposes of renewing culture defined by economic and artistic flourishing. The church, God’s missional mechanism for reaching the world with the Gospel and co-laboring towards the restoration of creation, needs to own such work. By owning and doing such ministry, the church brings a long-term stability integrated into her structure that reaches further afield in terms of demographic, industry, class, and age.
Second, The Collaborative is firmly rooted in the co-laboring invitation of the Lord echoed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:9: “By our labor, we co-labor with God…” (Here, we’ve utilized the original Greek word for co-labor in this passage, sunergos.) This clear purpose provides a theological center that grounds our work, directs our program, and integrates personal call and industry critique. If the Gospel truly changes everything, even more than souls, then The Collaborative seeks to discern the Gospel’s impact upon institutions, industries, the arts and government.
Will workplace evangelism occur? Absolutely. Will ethics and leadership be an important topic? How could it not? Yet, such work will be coupled with a genuine pursuit of strategies, education and advocacy for the common good whether a confession of faith results or not. For in the pursuit of the common good, we seek the welfare of the city, pray to the Lord on its behalf, and in its welfare find our own.