August 30, 2018


A story in my local newspaper described how students would find a new room in the high school this year. It would be, according to the article, a space that encouraged innovation and collaboration–much-needed skills in today’s workplace and educational settings. Tables and work stations would be configured so that students would work on projects in teams rather than individually. You’re read the articles or seen the stories like I have: 21st century workers and students will need to be to work collaboratively in order to be successful.


My first response is: What goes around, comes around. My Social Studies teacher in 11th grade required us to do exams in teams. I guess some things take time to infiltrate society. (Larry Allen was the best. He also gave is an exam over the radio! That’s for another time.)


Our daughter Mairé, a recent graduate of the University of Vermont, did numerous group projects during her four years in school. Xandra, our oldest, works for the Government Accountability Office (!) and she works with a team–individuals do research work by themselves but finalizing reports are collectively done.

Is Calvin Church functioning collaboratively?

Calvin Church works by and large with the collaboration model. Committees function as teams and the Session/Council is a deliberative, discerning team of sorts. But I wonder: Are we functioning really collaboratively? Maybe we’re just separate small groups that come together and work cooperatively. 


Collaboration looks different. Working collaboratively would entail working together more, sharing insights more often, and encouraging more “try this.” Would committee meetings every month in the church be necessary or are there other models of team-building/team-work?


What does the 21st century church need to be effective in God’s mission? Most of the New Testament stories (Gospels) are about a group of disciples constantly working together, and the letters of the New Testament are about groups of people learning to work together to be the body of Christ.


Maybe… what goes around, comes around.

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Calvin Presbyterian Church

415 East Grandview Ave.
Zelienople PA 16063



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