The importance of the Neutral Convener

Tell me if you’ve heard this one before:

A large church in the community decides it wants to start an initiative to help the city. They come up with a catchy name and tie in their own church logo. They launch a pilot project and it goes well. The church invites other groups to a meeting at their church to talk about expanding the efforts and getting more congregations involved.

Nobody shows up. Crickets.

The hosting church decides everyone else just doesn’t get it and decides to do it on their own. No collaboration, no unity in the larger church community. The silos continue to build.

What went wrong?

Unfortunately, it’s a result of human nature and our protective nature. Big churches often mean well, but can be imposing on other churches if they aren’t careful.

Smaller churches can have a little brother syndrome and not want to play with the bigger brother if there is a perception the bigger brother will get all the credit, or take their friends away from them.

Not saying it’s right, its just reality.

From our experience, this is why neutral branding from the beginning is so important. Not just branding, but rally locations, meeting places, etc.

When we started Love Modesto, we realized quickly the need to hold meetings at a neutral site. It instantly freed everyone we invited to the table to not feel like this was our mega-church event, but we were truly open for everyone to participate and help lead it together.

If you want to start a city movement that is truly larger than just your church, you need to think long and hard about the unintended messages you might be sending, and work towards changing those messages so others will want to join you in tackling

the greater vision.