Why Collaborate in Arts Ministry?

Many years ago, on a flight from Southern California to Nashville, I stumbled upon an airline magazine article entitled “Co-op Ventures Key to Innovation” (by Stephen Booth). The article described something amazing to me: Sony Corporation—the electronic giant—was actively pursuing a cooperative project agreement with Intel Corp. Qualcomm and Tektronics in order to develop and market computer products.

I asked myself the same question the article’s author asked: “Why would such a giant corporation want to partner with apparent key competitors?” Carl J. Yankowski, Sony Electronics president and chief operating officer, surprised me with such a biblical answer: “Basically we want to work together in whatever ways make sense to bring our (the various participating companies) core competitors, skills, and strengths together to enhance the convergence of (new product development).”

“Powerful ministry through worship and the arts requires more than any one of us possesses.”

I was shocked. That aspiration—to work together—sounded almost like the Apostle Paul’s appeal to the church: “. . .make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Each of you should look not only to your own interest but also to the interests of others.”

The article went on to lay out three key reasons why “cooperation” is essential:

  1. For technological innovation.

  2. To bring together core competencies of those various agencies necessary to maximize that technological innovation for the benefit of the market.

  3. To overcome the complexities of developing effective and cost-efficient deployment of technology.

It was like the Lord Himself saying directly to me, “Why aren’t Christians doing the same thing? This is the sort of cooperation I want for my Church for my purposes in spreading the good news of My Kingdom, especially related to worship and arts-related ministries!”

Powerful ministry through worship and the arts requires more than any one of us possesses. But together, the cooperative coalition of our resources and efforts will always become more powerful than the sum of our individual parts.

In ministry, there’s no question this reality is true. In ministry through the arts, it’s especially true because, relatively speaking, so few stand clearly aware of the central importance of the arts in ministry.

Each Christian artist and arts-oriented ministry holds a critical part of what’s needed to accomplish God’s purposes (Rom 12, I Cor 12, Eph 1, I Pet 3). But alone each critical part is incomplete and less than effective.

"Make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Each of you should look not only to your own interest but also to the interests of others.”
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