In recent conversations, the In Trust Center has seen a growing interest among theological schools in developing networks and partnerships with other schools. The reasons for this are complex: Resources at many schools are simply too tight, but schools and other ministries can thrive if they find the right partners and collaborations.

Collaboration, not mergers

How should a school identify strategic partners? First, throw out the “M-word.” Mergers scare people, so most schools are approaching partnerships in terms of new models of collaboration. A merger gives people the perception that there are winners and losers, but collaborations open up space for creativity and exploration: “If we were to imagine a future together, what might that look like?” 

Partnerships don’t have to be limited to schools. More theological schools are looking to their communities and church-related associations to discover rich networks and new kinds of partnerships. They're asking questions like these:

  • How can we use our facility for the good of the community? 
  • How can we use our faculty better to prepare leaders for the church and world? 
  • What assets do we bring to the table? 
  • Which assets from outside the school might serve as a catalyst for expanding our mission?

There are many ways to test and discern whether a potential partner might be a good collaborator. The following resources may be helpful :

If you are interested in further conversation about this topic, please contact our Resource Consultants at 302-654-7770 or