Yesterday I met with a tech director at another church here in Dallas. This is something I’ve done for the last 13 years. I guess you could say I’m a “networker”. It really comes natural to me and is a passion of mine. Everywhere that I’ve lived and each church I’ve served, I’ve always got to know the local churches and staff members. From my days as a college student serving part-time at a small church and meeting with a local mega-church staff member to meeting with churches the same size as mine and on and on.
I like to meet with churches that are smaller than mine to be a resource to them. I LOVE meeting with church leaders that serve at churches around the same size as mine. And I always love the sharing and learning that I do with church leaders that serve at churches larger than mine.
I’m glad to say that I have friends from serving in the Carolinas and friends in Washington DC, where I served before moving to Dallas, and these are guys that I stay in touch with and am glad to call friends. Here in Dallas, I’m a member of a few network groups: One is a group of Dallas area worship leaders, one is a ‘yal come/large group of tech staff from all size churches and the other is a small group of tech directors from churches around the same size as my church. I can’t recommend the food, fun and fellowship highly enough.
A couple of thoughts on networking:
- Church size doesn’t matter… no matter what size your church is, you can benefit from a local network.
- Denomination doesn’t matter… this is something I had to break free from years ago. You have a lot more than you realize in common with those from other denominations.
- Vent – take the opportunity to share struggles and frustrations with your local group. You’ll find that many others have some of the same frustrations. You need to be able to talk about these with someone outside your church.
- Share with each other. My local group shares equipment with each other and tries to help one another out with ideas, resources, contacts, etc. Just yesterday, I called up a local tech director (from the group) to ask where he would go in Dallas to rent wireless mics, as we’re going to have to rent some for Christmas.
- Be proactive. 95% of the time, people that I’ve had breakfast, lunch or coffee with were people that I called up or emailed and took the initiative to introduce myself to them. Again, this comes natural to me and may be out of your comfort zone, but it will be well worth your while.
- Take advantage of Web 2.0 technologies: things like Myspace and Facebook are great ways to meet people. I’ve met several people through one of them and then met them in real life.
- When you can, try to visit other local churches (for one of their services). I see local tech directors (and their teams) at my church from time to time and the past 2 Sundays, I’ve visited two different churches. It’s good to get out and see what others are doing.
- It’s ALL about the Kingdom. You’ve got to get this point. I can’t stand to hear of churches in competition with one another. We’re in this together. The reason I write, blog, speak at conferences and consult is because I want to help other churches grow, dream, do better, lead better and reach more people for Christ. Any spirit of competition is not of God and should be seen as sin. Get rid of it, friends!
- Not everyone will get this. I wish I could say that every person I’ve called or emailed has contacted me back and we met – that’s not the case. Some people have no desire to meet with someone from another church. What a shame and what a way to miss out on a blessing and possible new friend. My two cents: keep moving on and keep searching. Someone in your city will be interested in meeting and may turn out to be a great friend and resource for your ministry.