I’ve been in Christian industries and nonprofits for 13 years – more than 13 if we count volunteer time, but 13 as a full-time professional. Like others in these sandboxes, I’ve heard my share of judgment, encountered plenty of individuals who don’t act like Christians and have probably been one of those individuals somewhere along the way. It’s a tough thing, to work alongside others of whom you have the expectation to act Godly – when there are so many gray areas about “Godly” when it comes to specific actions.
I have realized there are basically two types of people in this sandbox when it comes to the management of resources – resources being money, relationships, and knowledge. The closed fists and the open hands.
Closed fist folks work hard to develop a network and a financial stream to support their vision. Let’s call them CFers. They are tireless workers, always on the go, never absent from a meeting or event that can help them forward the mission. CFers are staunchly dedicated to their ministry. They see no responsibility toward those in other ministries because taking their eyes from their own focus would be a “poor steward” of a CFer’s own resources of time and money. If there is an event with a major keynote speaker, for example, it is anathema to consider introducing other ministry leaders to that speaker – the focus must be and remain on only the CFer’s ministry.
Then there are the open hands. They are as passionate about and dedicated to their vision as CFers, but they believe there is strength within the body as a whole and wisdom in growing it along the way. Let’s call them OHers. If a fellow ministry leader calls with a request to meet someone who is a supporter of an OHer’s ministry but might also be interested in an additional ministry, or they request to use a piece of equipment, the OH leader is ready to acquiesce. OHers spend little time wondering if the act of sharing their own resources will stunt or harm the achievement of their own mission. For an OHer, the question at hand before sharing resources is whether the requesting ministry is legitimate. If it is, then sharing is a given.
Which do you think is preferable? To have a singular vision and stay firmly focused on it and only it (CF)? Or to approach resources as something to be shared with other ministries, possibly impacting your own path to fruition in the process (OH)?
Looking forward to hearing others’ thoughts on this!