Jerry Wiles on The Power of Facilitating Partnerships and Collaboration

Working together requires intentional effort

While spending time at the U.S. Center for World Mission in the 1980s (now Frontier Ventures) I got to know it’s founder, the world-renowned missiologist, Dr. Ralph Winter.  Among the many lessons I learned and quotes I heard from him was his thinking about cooperative and collaborative efforts.  In fact, he said he thought the most important role in the church and mission world was the partnership facilitator. It has been a joy to be a part of several coalitions, networks, and alliances over the years.  The phrase “Better Together” has become a common expression in contemporary society.

Character Matters

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It’s hard to over emphasize the importance of teamwork and cooperative efforts.  Important elements are developing and maintaining trusting relationships and friendships. Studies have shown that skill and knowledge are not as important as character and the ability to meet and deal with all kinds of people.  That would include the ability to make and maintain healthy relationships.  Honesty, integrity, dependability, and respect are important.  In other words, Christlikeness encompasses all those attributes.

A New Journey

In the Spring of 1969, as a freshman in college, I was introduced to the idea of selling books door-to-door as a summer job.  A man by the name of Raymond Francis convinced me that if I studied and worked hard, and followed instructions, I could earn a lot of money.  That turned out to be true and I enjoyed a five-year journey with The Southwestern Company (now Southwestern Advantage). In addition to earning a considerable amount of money for that time, and putting my wife and myself through college, the experience was more valuable than the money in the long run.

Simple Concepts for Lasting Impact

Learning how to meet and deal with all kinds of people, managing time and money, and other disciplines have been helpful.  Developing communication, management and leadership skills have also been beneficial in my academic and business endeavors, as well as ministry and mission activities, my Southwestern experience introduced me to numerous ideas, resources, mentors, and friends.  Many of those I’ve maintained contact with over the years.  One of those is a fellow bookman, Jim Potts, a successful businessman and owner of Lewis and Clark Outfitters, based in Northwest Arkansas.  Several years ago, Jim shared an idea that stuck in my mind, and I’ve shared with many others.  He said he likes to focus on “introducing people to people, and people to opportunities.”  That may seem like a simple concept, but it has profound implications and applications.

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SOURCE: Assist News Service, Jerry Wiles

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