Over the weekend I made a comment via Twitter about the internet being a great networking resource. And it is – but being networked isn’t necessarily the same as being connected. I think it’s perfectly appropriate that this weeks blog is about being connected, while at church we started a new series on relationships call FacebookJesus (click on Sermon to listen). Being connected is more about relationship than knowing lots of people.
A growing leader needs to be connected to people and there are three ways that we connect:
- Building Networks “It’s not what you know, but who you know that matters.” True or false? I think it’s true at the beginning of things – eventually you’ll have to show you know something, but often times who you know helps you get the opportunity to show what you know. Networking is a great opportunity to find out what other people are doing. There’s no reason to reinvent the wheel. What’s this look like at church? Talk to other teachers and leaders. Having a problem in class? Ask other teachers how they handle it – it’s a simple thing to create a network. Want to expand your network? Try talking to friends who go to other churches, ask them who their Sunday School teachers are – give them your number to connect. Try Twitter or Facebook to connect with other Children’s Leaders. There are all sorts of ways to build a network and there are huge benefits to doing it. You never know who you may meet or how it can help grow your ministry.
- Creating Connections This is the process of deepening relationships. Moving from a surface connection to a genuine interest in a person. One of the greatest short comings of social networks (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) is that they create the false sense of a relationship. There is a difference between knowing what is going on in someone’s life and actually knowing someone. In the Facebook world I have over 1,000 friends – but in real life it’s much smaller. You can only connect with so many people, but it’s important that you do connect with some – we need relationships to help keep us sane and support us along the journey.
- Providing Care What kind of friend are you? A lot of people are great at receiving, but not so great at giving care to their friends. I’m not even talking about the people you know – I’m talking about people you consider real friends. How many times have you had to tell someone “Oh, I had no idea you were going through that…” And it was somebody you thought you were close to? Growing leaders know that the main focus in relationships cannot be themselves – you have to learn that life is better when you have other people in it to walk with you and people are more likely to walk with you if you show that you actually are concerned about them. Try it and see how relationships can grow and deepen through you providing some genuine care to your friends.
Connecting is important for you as a leader. It gives you opportunity to focus on others, expand your influence, and grow as a person. When you make a genuine connection it can change your life and ministry for the long term. So, how are you going to get connected?