It has been said, "There are no innocent conversations," meaning that there is always an agenda in every conversation. I agree that there is often an agenda, and those agendas can be healthy and intentional in growing ministry or effectiveness. However, not all relationships have or should have an agenda apart from giving ourselves away in unselfish ways.
I am a great believer in unselfish relationships in ministry. Relationships that are intentionally developed where I have nothing to gain through the relationship and where there is no quid pro quo! Unselfish relationships are relationships where I am able to give, encourage and share expertise or tools without expecting anything in return. It is a Kingdom mentality rather than a selfish mentality.
A philosophy of generous living includes thinking beyond ourselves or our ministries. When I lead the organization I am responsible for I carry out my responsibilities and have something to gain as an organizational leader. All good. However, when I give myself away to other organizations or leaders where I have nothing to gain I more fully reflect the generous heart of God. I want to intentionally live beyond the self interest that drives us all to varying degrees. The best way for me to do that is to give myself away where I have nothing to gain. Each time I do, I experience the joy of God in new ways.
It also reminds me that it is not about the brand but about the Bride. A great goal for every congregation would be to give themselves away to another congregation, even of another denomination that needs their help. That unselfish gift would change the heart of both congregations. It is in giving ourselves away unselfishly that we grow Kingdom hearts. Congregations that are committed to Kingdom Projects in their communities are doing the same thing and experiencing the transformation that unselfish living brings.
Another way to give ourselves away is to quietly mentor and coach others who come behind us. I try to be involved in ten mentoring relationships at any one time. It is a quiet but powerful way to leave a legacy and influence the next generation of Christian leaders.
I find that as I develop relationships for the sake of encouraging others that when the time comes where there may be synergies, they emerge out of genuine relationship. Unselfish investments in relationships bless both us and our friends and it results in ministry synergies. And we reflect the amazingly generous heart of God.