Working in ministry or with a group of people, you have heard the term “networking”. It’s that group of people on your friends list, your followers, and your email contacts. They are people far and wide, known for their blog posts and gravatar pics. You like their ideas and marvel at their wisdom. You slide your thumb across the screen and something catches your eye. You pause for a moment and if interested you read, like, re-tweet or repost. You sometimes even find yourself comparing or competing with them. While there is nothing wrong with building a network like this, I challenge you to go for something bigger and better.
What if Jesus approached His disciples in terms of networking instead of building the Kingdom? “Simon, you and your brother stay here, continue to fish, know that I am for you and not against you, and I’m praying for you! Here’s my Twitter! Keep in touch! Be blessed my Brothers! Let’s do lunch next trip around!” So glad it didn’t go like that! He invested in relationships and was building the Kingdom!
As I am writing this, I want to share that this behavior was modeled to me by humble, forefront Pastors who desired to build God’s Kingdom. People, who are part of a body of Christ who are not competing against one another but share their blessings with all for the good of the Kingdom.
Go beyond just networking and start building relationships with the church down the road, the church in your city, in the next town, county or state. Conferences and seminars are a great way to meet other fellow, like-minded people in your field of ministry, but they stop short of true relationships. It falls to you to make the connections and then invest in the relationships. Be bold and pick up the phone! Invite that Children’s Pastor or Director out for lunch! You buy! Get to know them personally, invest in the start of a relationship and invest time and value in a person who loves and cares for the children as much as you do! Love and encourage one another!
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up …” 1Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
Maybe you have old curriculum lying around that you don’t use anymore? Find someone that can use it and bless them with it. Maybe you learned some cool ideas at a conference? Share them with other Children’s Pastors. Invite them to the next conference! Encourage your leaders to sponsor a Pastor from another church. What a testimony that would be! Plan events with other Children’s ministries! Work together in the community. Nothing shows your community unity like leading by example. Remember, you are already in unity in the Kingdom of God by loving and investing in these precious children. Show each other and the world how awesome it really is to build the Kingdom of God!