Competition to Collaboration


How can you cultivate cooperation in your organization? Pastor Dan Reiland examines why cooperation leads to collaboration.

The outcome of competition is never neutral, it either helps you or hurts you. A competitive edge is only a good thing if it inspires the team to rise to the next level together.

It’s a problem when we struggle with comparison that leads to competition with other churches, but candidly, most Kingdom competition happens within a local church. The competition shows up in lots of ways such as:

  • Who gets more of the budget?
  • Who gets more attention from the senior leadership?
  • Who gets another staff member?
  • Who gets more announcements from the stage?
  • Who gets their way?

I want to address a better way – Collaboration, which always begins with cooperation.

Cooperation must be intentionally cultivated on every team. It never happens when left unattended. Cooperation on a healthy team looks like this:

  • You get along relationally, and develop personal friendships.
  • You give up your rights.
  • You encourage each other.
  • You cheer when other people on the team win.
  • You care when other teammates lose!

Cooperation leads to collaboration, which looks like this:

  • You share resources even if it means you might have less yourself, so the overall team wins.
  • You take time to help each other, even when you still have your own work to do.
  • You generate and give the best ideas to others.
  • You take initiative to pass on and coach through best practices.
  • You take the time to pray for others.

At 12Stone Church we have nine campuses. It would be easy to compete with each other, instead of cooperate and collaborate, but we work hard to be a united team. One of our campus pastors felt a call from God to become a senior pastor and chose to move on to lead at a different church. That meant we had nine campuses with eight campus pastors. Mark Eiken, our Central Campus pastor, jumped in to cover two campuses, using some of his team from the Central Campus staff to help him. Several others from different campuses have also helped in a number of ways from good ideas to showing up to help. That is teamwork!

Mark could have easily and justifiably said that Central Campus needed and demanded 100% of his time. But for the sake of the larger team, he and the Central team absorbed the extra work to serve another campus. That is cooperation and collaboration in action!

Where are you and your team? How are you functioning? Do you experience healthy or unhealthy competition? Remember, unhealthy competition on a team is when you are okay if someone loses as long as you win. How strong is your cooperation and collaboration among the team?


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