Lately I have had a couple coffees with children’s and family pastors around the Seattle area and it has become clear to me that we need more KidMin/FamMin networks. So many of my colleagues are tired, stressed, lack vision and just need an environment to recharge. This made me begin to think why networking is important. Here are five reasons we need to network with local KidMin/FamMin:
Encouragement: When networking is done right, these networks should create an encouraging impact. In ministry it is easy to feel alone, easy to feel that only you have problems. Frankly you’re not; as I talk to ministry leaders of large churches or small churches they all seem to have unified problems. When we network with other ministry leaders the potential to encourage each other is higher than if we continued ministry alone.
Community Impact: This is an awesome reason to network; simply because it is an opportunity to not just focus on your ministry but how all the ministries in your community can team up and make a larger difference. In our community we have partnered up for events and served the local schools. Beyond the opportunities to partner up, there is something powerful when ministry leaders from the community pray together for their community.
Personal Relationships: I have had difficult times in the past finding people to keep me accountable or to share what’s on my heart. There are some subjects and situations that are difficult to share with church members and co-workers; when we are in a network we have the opportunity to meet and connect with likeminded people. These introductions can create peer relationships that could evolve to personal relationships.
Peer Learning- We all have something to learn and the reality is that not all information comes from a book, a conference or a podcast. Sometimes a cup of coffee and a simple conversation produces incredible “aha” moments and growth in our leadership. I have so much to learn, and many times I have been humbled to find learning opportunities from people I felt offered nothing. When we network with other ministry leaders the possibility of growth- both in spiritual and leadership matters- can potentially occur.
Ideas & Innovation- There have been moments in my ministry that I get stumped. Either I am in a season of ministry where things have flatlined or I’m drained of fresh ideas. Children’s and family ministry is a ever changing entity. Some churches get so comfortable in “their way” that soon they notice that “their way” isn’t working anymore. Suddenly they are in a situation they must change or become ineffective as a ministry. Sharing ideas within your network can generate innovation to apply to your ministry. This innovation may not just be program ideas- it could be on matters of volunteer development, safety, worship, technology, etc.
No matter where you are at, there are ministry leaders you can connect to to develop network. Networks come in all sorts of sizes, but truthfully I have found smaller, community focused one’s tend to work best. Networking starts with you; call the church down the street and meet for coffee. Starting and managing a network is a whole other topic; but look at the benefits of having a KidMin/FamMin network! If you are a part of a network already, then what other reason would you add to the list above?