August 23, 2021
By: Greg Henson, President; Shanda Stricherz, Chief Creative Officer; and Nate Helling, Chief Financial Officer
Today, we are going to share a bit about Collaborating Partnerships, which are the most prevalent type of partner within the global network of Kairos. Collaborating partners tend to have a program or ministry that provides some aspect of theological education, often focusing on particular contexts, expertise, Christian traditions, or content areas. The Kairos Platform, provides a wide array of opportunities for such partners ranging from marketing and promotion to sharing courses, content, and human resources to leveraging the Kairos Project to provide affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful journeys of education built around the unique expertise of the partner. Many options exist within this category which means an organization’s participation in the Kairos Network can often be customized to fit its particular needs. Collaborating partners leverage the “program development interface (PDI)” developed by Kairos to create wonderful and often highly-specialized learning opportunities for students.
In this post, we will share more details about Collaborating Partnerships, provide a few examples, and outline how such partners are identified, developed, implemented, and supported.
As is the case with Legacy and Integrated Partners, Collaborating Partners are identified through the day-to-day work that occurs within Kairos. As staff, mentors, faculty, and other partners engage in their work, we pay close attention to schools and ministries that seem to share a common commitment to affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful theological education. Rather than actively pursuing new collaborating partners, Kairos responds to opportunities and conversations that occur naturally in the course of our work. In doing so, we have learned that the primary characteristic of a potential collaborating partner is a deep commitment to theological education as, first and foremost, a journey of discipleship.
In practice, this means a collaborating partner is often already engaged in the work of theological education. This means that potential partners have programs or services designed to train, equip, and form participants in light of particular ministry contexts, Christian traditions, or aspects of leadership and formation. In most cases, collaborating partners choose to work with Kairos because it:
Whatever the reason, a collaborating partner sees Kairos as a “co-worker in the vineyard” and believes working with Kairos will help it pursue its mission and serve a wider array of people in the process. In this arrangement, the collaborating partner works with Kairos because of the marketing and promotional opportunities it provides, the program specializations that are possible, and/or the specific expertise that can be brought to bear on a student’s journey of discipleship.
Once a school identifies itself as potential collaborating partner or responds positively to such an invitation from Kairos, the conversation moves into the development stage.
During the development stage, the potential partner enters into a mutual discernment process with Kairos. It is in this stage that we work together to consider the specific aspects of the partnership (e.g., program specializations, access to expertise, marketing/promotional opportunities). As we learn more about what it possible and discern what God might be inviting us to do together, we outline this information in a partnership overview document. Such a document is not a formal agreement or anything like that. Rather, it outlines the high-level aspects of the implementation process so that others who were not part of the conversation can understand and engage in the implementation process.
When the partnership overview document has been completed, we move into the implementation stage of the process.
The implementation process happens in two phases:
The work of discipleship is something that must happen in community which is one of the reasons Kairos is committed to building and sustaining a wealth of partnerships. The community in which a disciple is formed has a profound formational impact on that disciple, and we want to ensure there is an appropriate fit between the community and the vocational goals of each student.
As a result, the support stage of all partnerships is ongoing. Even after programs, processes, communication, and all of the day-to-day operations are fully operational, the work of supporting collaborating partners does not end.
As a community of Jesus followers, Kairos is focused on creating a global network of theological education that is affordable, accessible, relevant, and faithful. Collaborating Partnerships create a strong network that can support and leaven this global network.
A few of the current collaborating partners in Kairos are Gospel Depth, VantagePoint3, Dinner Church Collective, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Cascade School of Theology, and the Transforming Center.
Join us next week as we look at operating partners!