by Patrick Bradley: Networking is when you’re meeting with civic officials, business leaders, community groups, nonprofits, etc. Here are 6 great reasons to go network in your community today.
I’m sure I don’t have hard numbers to prove it, but I would argue that there’s a tangible difference in the health of a church plant between planters that intentionally network and those that keep to themselves. These may give you a hint why:
Uncover Real Needs
Most community leaders are leading because they want to make a positive difference. Which means that they’re in touch with real needs in the community. Networking with them allows you to ask questions about community needs that get past the online demographics report level of general info.
Find Community Partners
As you sense the calling to address a community need, networking helps you find like-minded organizations to join forces with. What a shame it would be to approach the community with a savior complex and blow right past other groups that are already valiantly addressing the same issue.
Connect Other Groups
Eventually you may have the privilege of connecting other groups together. I sat in on a call this week where the planter had introduced a local coffee shop to a local nonprofit they had never heard of (right in their own community). Through that connection, the coffee shop began donating its day-old pastries, which they had previously been throwing away. The church and the planter didn’t directly benefit from that connection, but the community is better for it.
Make a Friend
As a church planter, you’re a risk-taker and an entrepreneur. You will run into a higher concentration of similarly-wired leaders as you network in your community. Maybe a new friendship is waiting to be born, one with no agenda other than being good friends with things in common. Who couldn’t use a few more of those?
Find a Facility
Sometimes finding a facility to host worship gatherings is a challenge. When you network with realtors, city planners and the like, you are connecting with people that know every facility in the community. They might be able to suggest something you haven’t thought of, or provide entree to a facility that wouldn’t initially have considered you.
Boost Your Energy
This is an common side effect when you go to network in your community: planters are people persons, and being out talking to people is likely to charge your batteries more than sitting behind a laptop screen checking things off a to-do list. You have to do some of that, too, but why not be more fully alive by spending time with other leaders in your community?
Networking isn’t just going to happen. There will be so many demands competing for your attention. Resolve to meet with at least 2 community leaders every week for the next 6 months and see how your ministry changes!
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