In past posts, you may have seen me write about the power and importance of networking. I really didn’t get this until about four years ago when I began this blog. I was never really good at networking with those in my own community. I felt like there were all kinds of barriers that I’ll get into later. However, starting a blog felt different. I could get my ideas out there and interact with those who were listening (reading) and I could interact with other blogs that I connected with. It didn’t take that long, but within a year, I had the beginnings of a very strong network for encouragement, ideas and friendship. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 14+ years of ministry is that I’ll never do it alone again.

However, networking over the web is a little different from networking locally. On the web, people put themselves out there and you can watch, learn and listen for a little while before truly engaging. Yes, you can lurk. When networking locally, you don’t always know what you’re going to get. You can call a dude up from the church down the road and invite to coffee and be surprised by a two hour lecture on flannel graph techniques. How do you navigate that relationship? It feels risky, doesn’t it?

Truth is, when it comes to networking, it’s a risk worth taking. Why?

  1. Not everyone is going to have a blog or create relationships online. If you don’t, you’re going to need to connect locally.
  2. As great as it is to connect with like-minded people online, what’s happening locally is where it’s at. You’re in this together. You and the churches down the road are all trying to reach the same community, it only makes reasonable sense that you’d be connected at some level.

So, whether it is an organized network or just monthly coffee and lunch meetings, make connecting with others in your area a priority.

Let me end with this picture. I don’t remember when and where this happened, but I heard about it. I don’t know, it could be an urban legend and it never really happened, so if that’s true, I’m sorry to lead to astray. However, this story paints a picture of a network of community that I’d love to be a part of.

I heard about a small town that had a powerful network of kids pastors that met on a regular basis where there was love, encouragement and a constant flow of ideas. They loved each other, prayed for each other and were truly in it together. This community was noticed by all. Families, staff and others in the community were well aware of this level of connection. At some point down the road, one of the kids pastors left for some reason I can’t remember, but probably isn’t important. When that church began interviewing a candidate as a replacement, the pastor of that church asked the network to meet with the candidate for an informal interview. This pastor knew that the network would know what was best for the community as well as for the kids in his congregation.

Again, I don’t even know if this story is true, but isn’t that something to strive for? What’s holding you back from getting out there?