This is my second evaluative piece on the Church Collaborative Feeding, scroll down a few for my first.
This week we made stir fry with multiple vegetables. A portion of my adult VBS group helped along with people from three of the four churches in our collaborative. We de-boned chicken breast, cut up veggies, made huge pots of rice, and sauteed everything. It was a good time. People worked together, and yet everyone kept turning to me to see if this is enough of that, or if the chicken was done enough, or what to do with the scraps. It all worked out, but it was a little overwhelming. I don’t mind being in charge of things, but I don’t fancy myself the best of all cooks or kitchen organizers. However, it did work out, and I was able to taste and see what was done and what was not.
My frustration with these sorts of efforts is not the people who think they know what to do or what to is the best way. Granted, we didn’t have any of those, plus I am easily persuaded. My frustration is balancing of what people offer as donations and honoring those donations while being realistic. But we balanced, we worked, and we collaborated.
Collaborate is a good word. Cooperative sounds less good for this sort of event. It seems to point toward the creation of something together. The creation of a meal and the experience (see last post on this topic). The thing about leading a collaborative is that you have to let the creative nature of each individual and group work out. When prepping a meal, it isn’t too difficult, especially when I get to plan the menu. However, on a larger scale, simply determining our projects can become a nightmare if one person or church dominates the planning. To alleviate this, we are meeting in different churches for our meetings and allowing different people to lead different projects. Our church, and my wife, are sort of the catalysts to make this work. However, her goal is that it becomes its own entity as a true collaborative effort.
This may become most challenging when we begin to work on things like pedagogy, social action, and other events, but there needs to be a place to allow for creative disagreement without harming others. Perhaps, if the beatitudes teach us something from the last post, meekness or a willingness to embrace and mesh in to others ideas is important.
However, there is also the need to let separate realities and possibilities exist. A collaborative requires a means of allowing for individual futures to be lived in to by different groups, even within the individual churches (as they often do). The struggle is allowing these different trajectories to exist and even conflict without stifling one or all of them.