The Value of Networking

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In my line of work, I see much value in networking. I have, despite heavy criticism at times, continued to use Twitter, in addition to Facebook, blogging, lunches and coffee meetings, to network with others. Do you see any value to networking? I wholeheartedly believe that there is. Here are 8 reasons that I think that it is worthwhile. I’ve tried to leave most of them vague enough so that if you don’t work in the church world, like I do, you can apply them in your sphere of influence, because networking is valuable in almost any leadership field.

8 Reasons Networking is Valuable:

1. I don’t have a corner on the market of ideas. In fact, I’m more of a task-oriented person than a guy full of grand ideas. I know that other people in other organizations have lots of ideas, and I benefit in hearing them. Of course, I have to do the work of processing them in our context.

2. Going outside of my organization gives a different, outside-of-the-box (Literally…our office looks like a box.) look. I work out of one office building, in one city, for one church. If I’m not careful, all of my ideas will revolve around one box. It’s helpful to get ideas from outsiders, those who don’t live and breathe the same air that I do.

3. I learn from others who do what I do, only better. I don’t claim to be the most talented, gifted leader. I want to continue to learn from those who perform better than I do.

4. Networking helps me move our organization to where we need to be. In looking at our structure, I see things that need to be improved, but often I’m not sure what our next step should be. In meeting with other leaders, I see that they’ve arrived at many of the places that I’d like for us to arrive, accomplishing moves and advancements that I would like for us to make. Seeing how they got there help my thought process.

5. I can learn from the mistakes of others. If I can have a heads up on ideas and practices that have failed, I can sidestep those failures. When I can sidestep a failure, it’s as if I take two steps in the right direction.

6. We can accomplish more in working together than in working separately. I can strive with all of my might to help grow the kingdom, but my efforts are multiplied when I collaborate with others. I have certain giftings and passions. I thank God for them, but I know that I am not gifted in every way, and don’t have passions in everything. The Church is the body of believers globally. I am not the Church unto myself.

7. Others help me to evaluate my system. Often, I make it a point to lay out our whole church strategy, making sure to show where my area of ministry fits within the system, to those I meet with, so that they can help me evaluate our system. It helps to think through why we do what we do, and to see how that sounds to someone outside of the organization. Maybe, because I’ve worked so long in our system, there are holes I haven’t noticed.

8. I’m encouraged when I hear of the Lord’s work in other churches and in other cities. It’s helpful when I’m reminded that the Lord’s not only at work in my little bubble of Clarksville, TN.

Do you make it a discipline to network with others?

 

Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Alan P.

    Ben,

    Great post! I wholeheartedly agree with your reasons for networking. I would add one more:

    It just may open the door to new friendships that God will use to enrich your life.

    Alan Pace

  • http://www.terracecrawford.com Terrace Crawford

    I am all about networking… so, of course, I loved this post. Good one!

    –Terrace Crawford
    http://www.terracecrawford.com
    http://www.twitter.com/terracecrawford

  • http://www.smallgrouppastors.wordpress.com Tracey Smith

    Great post! Through networking, I have enjoyed learning from the global leadership community but I have also gained many new friendships that I consider invaluable! Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.samanthakrieger.com Samantha

    Great post. There is so much value in networking. If we listed all the great things that have happened to us through some kind of networking medium, it would be awesome to see. Recently, an old friend from high school connected with me through facebook and wanted to know the gospel. I was able to spill it out in an email and it was so encouraging. (still waiting to see her response…) Thanks Ben.

  • benlreed

    Alan,
    Thanks for adding that one. You’re exactly right. We’ll make that #9.

    One more that my wife and I talked about last night is this one:
    10. You never know what the future holds. With this, I’m partly thinking about it in a self-centered way. I never know what will happen in the future, where the Lord will lead us, and what doors may be opened by relationships that are forming even now. But I see it in an others-focused way as well. When I hear of somebody who needs a job, one of the first persons I go to with that information is Ron Edmondson, one of our co-pastors. The reason I approach him is that he is incredibly well networked here in Clarksville and throughout Nashville. He has formed relationships with people in the community, and can connect others to job opportunities as they become available. This surely places a huge value on networking.

    Thanks for the comment, Alan.