“We’ve adopted a ‘better quality, faster, cheaper’ mindset,” Peterson said. “Everybody in the conversation is saying, ‘We’ve got to do this excellently because this is God’s Word. But we also have to do it as quickly as possible because people are dying every year. And also inexpensively, because that’s just good stewardship.’ ”
Collaboration, not competition, is the best way to achieve that, he said.
Some ministry sectors have been cooperating for a while, such as the International Sports Coalition (ISC), founded in 1987, and the Accord Network (formerly the Association of Evangelical Relief and Development Organizations), founded in 1978. But today collaborations are rising in popularity, with networks like illumiNations and the International Orality Network (founded in 2004) popping up more frequently, Wills said.
“ISC and this Bible translation collaboration are extraordinarily powerful because all points of the triangle—investors, the people doing the ministry, and those receiving the ministry—are all engaged in a collaborative effort,” Wills said. “That’s explosive.”
A key ingredient is humility, he said. So is having an abundance mentality. “It means that you’re trying to make someone else successful.”
In a room full of type-A leaders with strong personalities, “it’s a God thing when it happens,” Wills said. “You look at it and say, ‘Wow. Our primary responsibility is to not get in the way of what God is doing.’ ”
The illumiNations template could be applied to other areas like clean water, anti-abortion efforts, or poverty relief, Peterson said. “It’s the Holy Spirit’s prerogative, but there is a lot of biblical vernacular here—generosity, humility, and integrity leading to greater unity.
“I wonder if we could challenge the church to have more of these experiences,” he said. “If I was seeing this kind of unity in other ministry areas, I’d be excited, and I’d give more.”