Apostolic Collaboration

 In Chronology

We live in a time where collaboration is key to kingdom initiatives and stewarding the grace that is being poured out. We are seeing unprecedented shifts as foundations are being reinforced and built to sustain the emerging kingdom age. Some of the signposts along the way are the preeminence of kings and priests taking their place in the order of Melchizedek. Leaders from every sphere are filling the leadership vacuum to penetrate the uncharted markets to take atmospheric dominance. Global initiatives and kingdom businesses are being launched. There are numerous keys to their success for which resources are required.

In the parable of the minas and talents, the Lord rewards faithfulness through trusted relationships. In a sense, He is a wise investment banker looking to release resources from heaven. The Lord does pay for what He orders. If we have a plan in alignment with God’s character, purposes and timing, and can demonstrate that we can steward His resources, the resources will flow. One of the key elements of demonstrated leadership and management is collaboration, which is a key resource or ingredient to fulfilling kingdom mandates.

Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where fragmentation and chaos multiplies with minimal effort. It is perhaps the antithesis of collaboration. In that chaos, many are chasing after their brand and business to get a bigger piece of the pie. Many are not walking in ways that are honoring and are using people to meet their greed quotient or recognition factor. It is a red ocean strategy where everyone is trying to outperform their rivals to grab a greater share as the markets get crowded. In a blue ocean, the competition is irrelevant because the operating system is based on abundance rather than scarcity. Sadly, many churches and ministries have embraced the American corporate culture mentality of scarcity. I often see leaders competing and creating win-lose scenarios rather than working together and creating win-win outcomes.

It is said that when the cats are away the mice will play. This perhaps applies to the parent-child relationship in both the natural and the spiritual sense. Many working in the Lord’s sandbox are all working to be successful and often think they are the center of the universe. Perhaps they are missing the bigger picture because of the lack of apostolic fathers and five-fold ministry teams working together. In many places where we hear about awakening and revival, every ministry and church thinks they are the one group that will make it happen. Likewise, the church at Corinth gravitated to following after individual leaders, revealing their immaturity. While we all have a part to play, we must work together and think city-wide, regionally, and nationally.

There is a great need for leaders to emerge to help us grow beyond ourselves to serve the greater purposes of heaven in the earth. Jesus is not just pouring out His Spirit on one group in this season. He is pouring out on communities, regions and nations. Jesus gave prophetic words to the churches in regions in the book of Revelations. The apostle Paul wrote letters to churches in a region. We need to resist the temptation of self-centeredness and move towards fulfilling the Lord’s mandate to be one. We need to embrace a bigger picture and our paradigm of how it all fits together needs to expand.

One of KCIA’s mandates is learning to work together in an interlocking way — in other words, collaboration. Collaboration is to work jointly with others, to work together cooperatively and willingly to achieve a desired result. Anything worth building that will have a significant impact will require collaboration. For example, a jet engine requires numerous teams of experts along with systems integrators to ensure that every part and system meets the desired requirements. The end product when fined tuned hums and sings a song of power to create thrust for aircraft lift. The hardware in these machines works together in a unified manner to keep people safely in the air.

Perhaps a more complicated system is the human body. The apostle Paul shares a metaphor that the church is like a body which is a sophisticated, interlocking system that embodies life. When our body, soul and spirit function in a unified manner, life is good, there is harmony and the flow of life. This metaphor applies not just to individuals and churches, but to cities, regions, states, and nations. A nation with systems, infrastructure, communications, and resources will prosper in numerous dimensions.

Paul, in his epistle to the church at Ephesus, marks distinguishing characteristics of leaders who are called to build something of pre-eminence and significance that is a unified and multifaceted expression of Jesus in the earth. In this unity, which Jesus prayed for in John 17, there is no limit to what can be accomplished. (See Gen 11:6). The signature strength of those who are to walk worthy of the calling are marked by Jesus’ core DNA, which in the end produces collaboration that ends in oneness and will ultimately multiply!

Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8 Therefore it says, “When He ascended on high, He led captive a host of captives, And He gave gifts to men.” (Eph. 4:1-8)

Paul unveils the key elements to collaboration’s success – humility and gentleness with patience and showing tolerance for one another in love. In the business world, this would look like not being egotistical, listening for understanding, understanding timing, accepting and persevering with differences, not judging others, and understanding the diversity of strengths and teams. As leaders, we set the tone for our teams and what the ground rules are for engagement. Possessing these attributes will create a platform to work through challenges. Are we committed to bringing about the integration of one body, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one Lord, and one God and Father who is over all and in all? If so, we must embrace the deeper working of God in our lives.

Some of the signature strengths which should be exhibited in the five-fold ministry are humility, gentleness, tolerance, love, and honor. The spiritual power of these attributes becomes the glue that allows these spiritual integrators to build and link people together. The end goal will be that the sum of the whole will be greater than the parts. Linking together in an interlocking manner requires perseverance, understanding the other person’s operating space, and how they will be connected to others in a complex system. The goal is to create something far greater than what we could create individually.

12 for the equipping of the [saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:12-14)

God is pouring out grace for collaboration for those called by the Lord Jesus. The solution is simple, but hard to attain at times. Stay connected to the head, and we will be of one mind, heart, and purpose. The fruitfulness for those who pay the price for collaboration is ever increasing. The results will be exponential in nature because every seed that falls to the ground will multiply.

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. (John 12:24)

 

In closing, consider this. In the throne room of heaven there are 24 elders that are worshiping the Lord. They bow down and declare a seven-fold blessing and guess what they are doing? They are laying down their crowns as a gift to the Lord. Crowns represent their authority, influence, identity, and those distinguishing characteristics of their leadership. As we lay down our rights and identity before the Lord and listen for His divine strategies to build, and as we lay down all that we are, we can then embrace collaboration. This will attract God’s heavenly charge, and the flow of collaboration to create unified solutions will be like none other.

10 the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying,11 “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.” (Rev. 4:10-11)

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