I’m a big fan of networking and collaboration. I could write out a very long list of reasons why you should collaborate and all the benefits it will bring. I will never do ministry alone again. However, collaborating and connecting with others doesn’t just benefit you, it also helps your church.
Something very interesting happened this past Sunday. I met a family in our lobby that had some questions about what we offer for special needs. As we were talking for a little while, I found out that they had recently moved from Memphis, TN. A little later they said they had attended Hope. “Hope Presbyterian?” I asked. The confirmed. Turns out they knew Craig Gyergyo very well, the Children’s Pastor I’d come to know very well through my mentoring group with Jim Wideman. I learned that Craig had recommended them to come to check out Gateway and the connection that Craig and I shared put them at ease as they felt like this was a “God” thing.
It reminded me that something like this happened this summer as well. A friend of mine, a Fellowship One guru at a church in IL, told me that a family from his church was moving to Austin. I connected through my friend (who by the way, I’ve never met in real life, but connected through Twitter when I had questions about F1) and once they arrived, I tried to make sure they felt really welcome. They connected very quickly into the culture and life of Gateway.
What I really enjoyed is that because of my collaboration with people at other churches, they helped some of their own connect at Gateway. They had a relatively seamless transition from one body to another. In my opinion, that’s leading well. That’s truly caring for those you pastor and lead. Too many times people move away from our churches and when they ask us if we know of any great churches where they are headed, we shrug our shoulders. What would it look like if I could guide leaders, volunteers, or families into top-notch ministries in the cities they are moving too? How crazy would it be for someone to be going through the volunteer application process with a new church even before they relocated (I’ve done this before… so cool). I really want the best for the people in my ministry, even after they move away.
Certainly this won’t be how it always works, but it wont’ happen at all unless you collaborate. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t met, but you’ve heard a lot about. Take a step, even if it’s a little out of your comfort zone. It will be so good for you and believe it or not, it’s good for those you lead!
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