I’ve been burned by a teammate before. I’ve got some stories that would make ya shake your head, furrow your brow, and want to teepee someone’s house. When I’m hurt by a collaborator, I feel indignant and want to run off and do things on my own. Collaboration is all about working well with others. People are people, and sometimes people suck. Sometimes, I suck. Collaboration creates uncomfortable situations, however, we must lean into the discomfort to create our best art and cultivate our best selves.

Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.

Romans 12:16 ESV

Flourishing collaborations are far and few these days. Individualism is desirable. Even our friendship matras have turned from ‘You’ve got a friend in me’ to ‘I’m gonna get mine, you do you, boo.’ It’s come to this because we want to protect ourselves, pushing away anything that could cause discomfort or pain. Nine times out of ten, pain is incited by another.

Healthy collaboration is central to the Church, so we better learn how to do it well. After all, it’s how non-believers will distinguish us as Christ followers. The key to collaboration is loving those you collaborate with, even if they sometimes ‘suck’. When you apply a healthy dose of humility, you can learn to love anyone.

I therefore….urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-4 ESV

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:34-35 ESV

Be generous with your assumptions of others, stay unoffendable, communicate what is and is not acceptable, and remain in community (relationship) with your collaborators. If we do not saturate ourselves with community, we run the risk of cocooning our needs and wants within ourselves, producing a shallow, unapproachable individual. Rather, we are meant to collaborate, working together.

Ashlee Wright