This is me being honest: I feel I was born to network. I remember one summer I was all about collecting bottles and going to the convenience store to turn them in and get candy. Those were some of my best memories. But I started to see something: I was only getting a small number of bottles and a small amount of candy. So I started pulling in boys down the street to pool bottles for money to get better candy to share. I was always using networking as a tool to do more together. One thing I’ve found after talking to countless rookie pastors, and even some veteran ones, is that in their communities networking is not a “big thing.”
I get that is not always easy though; we all get busy right? With our programs, our small groups, our outreach stuff, our camps…and while we do it all to the glory of God we also for the most part are all doing the same stuff. The method might be different but the parts are all the same.
When I started looking at my local churches I saw one thing—that just like when I was a kid if you pull people together, there’s more we can do together. And again networking is the tool to get this done.
So here are some quick easy steps to network when you’re not a networker.
- Check your motives for networking. Is your goal to brag on yourself or to encourage others? It’s not a contest but a race we’re running together.
- Get out a map. Look at the 4 or 5 churches closest to you and start there. Don’t worry about denominations, just that they love Jesus and love students.
- Be willing to make the first move. Sometimes the other person wont call you, so like asking the girl to prom you may have to buck up and cold call your pastor from another pasture down the street. You be willing and God will do the heavy lifting.
- We all eat lunch, right? Food is the best open door there is, and everyone eats lunch—even the most busy youth pastors in America go to Chipotle or Five Guys. Go with and have great conversation.
- Have a goal. Do you want to plan events together, vent, share local strategies, have a local in the trenches prayer partner? Know you goal going in and make it known. And saying you just want to hang out is a great goal to have.
- There are more ideas. There are many more ways and paths to networking with others; ask people that do it, try stuff out on your own. But whatever you do, don’t do nothing.
Connect with Justin on twitter @HeyJustinHerman