Why do some nonprofits fail to work together? Do they really believe they can meet every need alone? And why do they claim they are the “only organization” doing a particular work and fail to partner with and recognize others? This baffles me.
There is no race. This isn’t a competition. We aren’t comparing the number of “likes” on our Facebook pages. We don’t want to take your volunteers or donors. If we accidentally schedule an event on the same day as yours we aren’t competing for attendance numbers. That particular day might have worked better for our schedule. Our methods aren’t best for you and your methods aren’t best for us, however we can learn from each other. Even though we may serve the same people, our focus may be very different – and that is OK. We want to learn from you, and we might have a few things that you can learn from us. We promote your organization and send people your way and would appreciate the same from you.
Let’s learn how to work together and get the job done.
Even in the “Christian” organizations we often fail to work together. Christ calls the Christian to function as a member of His body, the church. We are either the most dysfunctional body or we are no body at all. Are we the most disfigured body of amputated limbs trying to function alone?
Last week a dear brother passed away. Pastor John Starne was the founder (along with his wife Leanne) of a ministry named “The Lord’s Hands and Hearts“. They have an amazing outreach to the homeless and heart for The Lord. I met John years ago after an OurCalling Bible study in a café in Deep Ellum. We immediately began sharing our testimonies with each other as we have similar ministries. We met for coffee, shared ideas and often shared excess resources between ministries.
Other ministers, like pastor Leon Birdd of S.O.U.L Church, pastor Chris Simmons of Cornerstone Baptist Church and Brother Bill Thompson of The Union Gospel Mission share similar experiences. I try to meet with these men (and others) as often as possible. We all have the same boss, work for the same purpose and share the same burdens in ministry. We want people to know Christ, follow Him and encourage others to do the same.
Leaders in ministry need to meet together, but there are laws of nature that make that difficult. In reality, we are very busy people. We wear multiple hats, our organizations are understaffed, and the culture of the people we serve brings a constant case for crisis. We are always trying to recruit volunteers to do the work, donors to pay the bills, and train leaders to rise into greater responsibility. The census of the homeless population is constantly rising, we are maintaining breaking facilities, and everything takes time. I personally have over 18,000 emails in my inbox and countless unanswered voicemails. So when can we meet?
Although we hold different business cards, in reality we are more similar than we let on. We are all pastors. We all serve full-time in ministry. For those unfamiliar with that term, a ministry job is not a 40 hour per week commitment. Some days we have an early visit to the hospital to visit someone in need of pastoral care. We preach, teach, lead, carry boxes, send emails and wear too many hats. We stay up counseling others and can’t sleep well under the burden of the needs of those we serve. We also have families that need us. We struggle with the tightrope of being the spiritual head of our homes while being the spiritual head of a ministry (under Jesus, of course). It’s not an easy job, but it’s the one to which we were called. Being a pastor and serving the poor is not just a job, it is our calling.
However, we need each other. We need to recognize that we are not on an island. We are not alone. We do have peers and we need to make more time to meet, work, play and pray together.
I want to apologize to those leaders of other organizations who have asked to meet with me and I have been “too busy” to return your call, email or text. I need you in my life. I will make time. (As soon as I finish writing about it)
This is a short list of some of the organizations with whom we regularly work, meet, or need to work more with. I’m certain I accidentally left someone off of this list.
- OurCalling (that’s us!)
- Hands and Hearts
- S.O.U.L. Church
- Cornerstone Baptist Church
- The Union Gospel Mission
- Dallas Life Shelter
- Austin Street Shelter
- The Salvation Army
- The Bridge
- The Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance
- City Square
- Reconciliation Outreach
- The Dallas International Street Church
- The Soupmobile
- Genesis Women’s Shelter
- Dallas Pregnancy Resource Center
- Kingdom Culture Ministry
- Mercy House
- Operation Care
- SM Wright Foundation
- Faith In Action
- Jesus People Ministries
- And many, many others
If you are affiliated with one of these organizations or others and want to meet, please shoot me an email. Thanks and God Bless.