Smashing silos and creating synergy : a journey toward collaboration.


Judy Hunt

Date of Award


Document Type



Drew Theological School

Degree Name

Doctor of Ministry


I want to tell you a story--one that needs to be told, not because we need another tale, but because we need to know that positive change is possible, and that there is still such a thing as hope. But, mostly, because we need to be reminded that as God's co-creators, we still have the ability to break down the most ingrained barriers by allowing ourselves to be transformed. As with most tales, this one has been years in the making. It features a deeply committed but distinctly isolated and departmentally driven group of people who, in response to the congregation's rapid growth, were driven by an expectation of high energy, proficiency, and creativity. Thus, the more each ministry pulled together to satisfy its own requirements, the more departmental isolation became the norm. With each mounting conflict, it became clear that we could no longer operate in the same siloed mode. This project, then, was designed to foster communication and a re-assembling of those various parts of Christ's body so that our unity might offer a biblical model and reenergize all aspects of ministry. The leading characters in this transformation became intentional conversation and play. While none of us knew what lay ahead, seventeen brave souls embarked on that four-month journey, during which our gatherings included both fun and time to talk. Quickly an atmosphere of familiarity and open hospitality formed as a distinct willingness to play emerged. Facades were easily abandoned as well-chosen games served as an impetus for talking, laughing, sharing, and self-revelation. Magically, these exercises became segues into conversations that facilitated the identification of opportunities and defining of collaborative creations. A significant turning point emerged when the group requested more--more participants, more opportunities to gather with others, and more intentional times for collaboration. Will we live happily ever after? That reality remains to be seen. However, there are important signs that we are at least on our way to living in synergy, rather than in silos.