As an abbreviation, it is often thought of in the context of representing the word ‘company’, or as either a prefix or as the first two letters of a word: two letters that can in fact unleash opportunity because they most often mean… together.
Five young professionals, all travelling together, arrive at the Qantas lounge ready to relax before their flight home from Melbourne. But alas, with only two Qantas Club members between them, it meant one of the group could not enter, as each QC member can only bring in one guest each visit.
Queue anthem music befitting Gandalf arriving at dawn on the fifth day at Helm’s Deep. I had overheard their dilemma as we ascended the escalator and so I offered to join their group, naturally taking on the role of senior executive type (as if) and assist my new colleague through the check in process as my ‘plus 1’.
Cooperation. Colleague. Conspirator?
Three days in Melbourne this week for Adventist Schools Australia meetings, including the National Education Council on Thursday and I am just about all ‘meetinged’ out. As I was reminded though many years ago by my children, when I would lament about having to go to yet ‘another’ meeting: meetings are in fact a big part of my job they would remind me – if not actually the best description of my job.
So I feel compelled to share with you that this week is captured by the letters – C and O.
Collaboration. Cooperation. Conversation. Co-creation. Collegiality.
Dr. Jean Carter, our National Direction of Education, provided a platform, provided space this week, for some ‘big ticket’ items to be discussed.
Teacher supply. Religious Liberty. Employment Law. Strategic Growth. Spirituality. Governance and structure.
We covered them all, we discussed them all and we began to better understand them all and the roles that we each can play in acknowledging, advancing and addressing these areas.
Mission, purpose fulfilment, is not a solo sport. It takes a team, it takes connections.
It takes collaboration, cooperation, co-creation and a collegiate mindset. It takes investing in discussion, in listening and learning, in reviewing and refining: it takes together, not solo.
12 individuals collected with a united purpose. 12 differing personalities, life histories and skill sets. 12 ideas on how to further mission, how to share the Good News and how to be ‘of service’. 12 sets of hopes and dreams, 12 narratives of love and loss, joy and judgement, fear and faithfulness.
Jesus and the disciples represent collaboration, connection and collegiality on an eternal scale.
Jesus united a team of different, disaffected and disconnected identities into a team that influenced down through history to this very day.
Matthew 16:24 cannot be any clearer, where Jesus tells us to ‘give up on self and to follow Him.’
He not me.
Thats what it is all about.
And that is what I saw this week in Melbourne: us.
An us built on the foundation of Christ.
So, as you reflect on a week concluded, and as you pause for a well-earned breather over the weekend, consider how next week you can add collaboration, cooperation, conversation and co-creation into how you experience next week.
Seek out together.
This word of encouragement for Christian educators was written by Dean Bennetts, and distributed in The Bridge newsletter in 2023. Dean is the CEO of Adventist Education in North New South Wales, Australia.