- People-Specific Resource Network
These suggestions were developed by Interdev as a part of their Strategic Partnership Training, but they are applicable to all types of cooperative relationships.
Although you may have a vision, don't expect that everyone will or should buy into your vision. The work depends on building a common vision. Start by listening. Find out what others are doing. Find their vision, their problems, their needs. The first task is listening!
Listening to others develops your credibility in the minds of potential partners. You must demonstrate you are there because you want them to succeed.
Interdev is an organization serving the Church in accelerating fulfillment of the Great Commission through the development, formation and long-term effective operation of international partnerships for evangelism among the world's unreached people. Interdev is also the Partnership Development Track of the AD2000 and Beyond Movement.
Focus on building trust relationships. Most partnerships are built on more than just a common interest. They are built because the members of the partnership have come to trust one another so that they can take steps together.
This means that you need to build good relationships personally with each of the potential partners -- not only demonstrate a respect for their work, but also demonstrate an interest in them personally, as God has called us to love one another.
Freely acknowledge distinctives of theology or philosophy of ministry. Such differences do not go away by ignoring them. But work with them in love, building toward functional unity. We do not have to be perfectly aligned in order to complement one another.
Don't minimize differences, but focus on common concerns.
As you listen, also try to identify common objectives or common needs that most of the potential partners share. It might be a need to train new staff in language or culture, or needs of radio and field evangelists for a similar piece of literature. These common objectives or needs can become the seeds of cooperative efforts or partnerships.
Gently challenge potential partners to think how to meet those needs and objectives. Is it possible they might be more successful by working with others who face the same issues, and can bring different or additional resources?
Once the idea of working with others begins to sprout in the thinking of several potential partners, then you may be ready to call a first meeting.