tonight i spent a couple of hours networking with other coffee service providers and connecting with potential clients at a local vendor fair. since client traffic was relatively light, on a number of occasions throughout the evening i talked with other service providers about type of coffee and the clients they serve. since we're all in the same industry and there are only so many ways to brew a bean, it made sense for us to collaborate with one another and even broach a couple of trade secrets.
however, as i reflect upon the evening i am surprised by how many times i had to either disarm my colleagues' defensive reactions, assertions and interruptions by reminding them that we are not competitors but collaborators who are seeking to provide the best possible service to clients who are desperate with thirst. in the coffee service sector, competition is not a virtue, but a vice. i believe that if divergent service providers proactively seek to collaborate with, rather than compete against, one another, our clients will be all the better for it.
of course, the value of collaboration and the impropriety of competition is even more important in regards to communities that are seeking to follow God in the way of Jesus. if those of us in the latter camp embrace competition and eschew collaboration in order to fulfill our own ego-centric, visionary or budgetary needs we should be truly ashamed of ourselves. i've said it before and i'll say it again: competition is not a virtue that issues forth from the Christian life. the less competition, and the more collaboration, the better.
i will now get off my soapbox. goodnight.