The Power of Networking

Social Networking ImageI have been thinking a lot about this whole networking thing.  Networking seems to be a hot topic in many different fields these days.  I think that is a very good thing.  One question that I have is "why don't we see more networking in church/ministry?"

I have been in student ministry for the past 11 years (wow... has it been that long already?), and I have not been a part of many networks in ministry.  I see a ministry network as a group of ministers who gather together and encourage one another.  During my time of serving in south Alabama, I had the privilege of being part of a very good network of student ministers.  We would meet together once a month to share stories, encourage one another, pray with one another, and even plan events together.  It was truly a time that I would set aside and treasure.  Before that (and even now after), I did not have a group of guys that I could share or bounce things off.

Here are a couple of strengths that I see in networking together as ministers:

  1. Encouragement.  It is easy to get down with the work of ministry.  There are so many demands of you and your time that one can easily run dry.  It is good to have a group of like-minded people that know where you have been and can give you encouragement for the journey.

  2. Accountability.  Who do you have in your life that understands the demands of the ministry that you are a part of that is also holding your feet to the fire?  Ministry is not a "lone ranger" task.  We desperately need others to speak into our lives and hold us accountable to the ministry that has been placed in our care.

  3. New Ideas. I can't count how many ideas that I've stolen... uh... I mean borrowed from other ministries.  Let's face it, no one person can do it all or think of all the good ideas.  It is good to be able to share resources and ideas with others who are in the trenches of ministry with you.

  4. Kingdom focus. I think that this is the most important reason for networking ministries.  Far too often in the church world, we think that our church is the Church.  We must remember that we are part of Christ's Kingdom and working together for one common goal: to bring glory and people to Jesus Christ.  Sadly, I have been in areas where churches were at war with each other trying to reach the same 100 or so people while many more were falling through the cracks.

Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us "though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." How is it that we, the Body of Christ, have such a hard time coming and working together?

What kind of networks are you a part of and how have you seen God work in them?

What are some things that you have noticed that keep people from partnering together especially in relation to ministry?