Lecture presented 3/2/16 at Faulkner Lectures - to see the Prezi with this go to: click HERE.
When the world looks at networking it has a purpose - how can I * make more and better connections to promote myself and my business? * BUT we are not of the world. We are not to be of the world -
* 1Jn 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”
So I define networking as *“Making friends for the sake of the Gospel and Jesus Christ.” If it is not about the Kingdom of God it is self-willed *(Titus 1:7 - NASV “For the overseer must be above reproach as God's steward, not self-willed”).
And you have to check yourself on this. There is a danger here - the old saying was (that, I’ve not heard in a long time) “any text taken out of context is a pretext.” So, we can’t just pull together random verses to support our own agenda. If your hidden agenda is to make yourself great you are headed for worldly greatness - and there may be even those associated with the Kingdom who believe you to be great - BUT if you are not rich toward God you are desperately poor.
And - Only you can know you and you must be honest with the guy you shave with every morning.
Quickly let’s look at 2 Co 5 - “18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself..” God is the great networker!
But notice that since God is - we His people are to be - * v. 20 “ Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
* Paul spent his life collecting people for the kingdom’s sake - networking:
Look at his life - he collects a young man named Timothy. A perfect example of the Old Law working it’s purpose. And says of him - “I have no one like him…” He collects a man who appears to be a little older than Timothy, Titus who becomes chief example number one of a Greek in whom the gospel worked. He collects a man who is an orator (Paul wasn’t) - Apollos. He collects a doctor - he would need one - educated who could write well - Luke. He collects some folks with money - He collects a couple A&P who helped him with his business and the gospel. He collects a man by the name of Claudis Lycias, a Roman tribune who will help him get out of Jerusalem and eventually to Rome - Acts 22.
Romans 16 - and most every one of the epistles. He would go into a city and start finding key people. Paul went around collecting friends for the sake of the Kingdom. He was making friends for eternity. He was networking for the glory of God.
Most of us are familiar with the old “Six degrees of separation” game that grew up around Kevin Bacon. But according to one guy there are only six degrees of separation between you and anyone. BUT it was here at Faulkner 15 years or so ago that a preacher gave me three links of a chain - “There are not six degrees of separation, there are two; you just have to think hard enough.” He said we are only two chain links to anyone in the US.
I’m a connector * (Malcolm Gladwell called us Social-Connectors in his best seller Tipping Point Connectors - “the people in a community who know large numbers of people and who are in the habit of making introductions. A connector is essentially the social equivalent of a computer network hub. They usually know people across an array of social, cultural, professional, and economic circles, and make a habit of introducing people who work or live in different circles. They are people who "link us up with the world...people with a special gift for bringing the world together". They are "a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [... for] making friends and acquaintances.” Malcolm Gladwell characterizes these individuals as having social networks of over one hundred people. Gladwell attributes the social success of Connectors to the fact that "their ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination of curiosity, self-confidence, sociability, and energy".
It can be a great joy to facilitate those connections for your network for the greatest cause in the world.
But I’ve also learned that just because things come naturally to me, it’s not always the same for others. Here are 10 quick, immediate tips to help you become a better networker: There is no reason you can't start building a bigger, stronger network today.
- * Know your motives: Clarify your mission. It is to help others. To influence more people. To encourage more people. How to use this tip today: Instead of thinking about who you need to know, think about who you can help. How can you provide value to someone today?
- * Focus on individuals and their needs: In other words, BE PRESENT. Make the conversation about THEM, not YOU. Ask questions. Listen. When possible, begin conversations with questions about someone personally, not necessarily their profession. Get to know them and attempt to find commonalities. They will tend to remember those conversations best. Remember the small stuff.
- * Strengthen the relationships you NOW have: It’s sort of hard for me to say but more is not necessarily better. What do the people you are connected to now need to help them be their best for God? Networking really starts with your current contacts. Cultivate those you have already and invest in those relationships first.
- * Improve what you know: Learn more so you can help more people. Improve what you already know. Don't spend all your time on the “I can’t’s and the I’m not’s” - great book over 20 years ago - Find what you do well and capitalize on it.
- * Look for more people to network with: May be simplistic, BUT the fact is one way to improve networking is to build your network. I love meeting new people because I never know what is going to come from it! Whether on Sunday morning or at a lectureship or a luncheon. If all you do is hang out with people you know you will not improve your network. You could be like the family at church who only talks with each other - we used to have an elder at a church I worked at who’s daughter and son-in-law came to church with them - they would sit together and after services they would sit down and visit with each other! It drove me mad! He was supposed to be out shepherding - or connecting - or collecting! OR there’s the group of elders who clump together (Preachers do it too). There are guests there - they may be lost. Going alone and walking up to strangers is important. Everyone has some apprehension. Take the initiative.
- * Keep your eyes open for people with DIFFERENT skills than yours! This is where it gets fun! I can’t help you with ____ but I can tell you who can. That allows me to help a LOT more people. (Sunday - coming back from CYC, riding with Jerry Elder - 10 miles west of Cookeville - I can’t fix an axle - BUT I have a friend who has friends there! I can help!) Give me the town and I can find you someone there who can and will help. Listen - you never know what skills a person has. And some people are delightfully deceiving!!! They are worth much more than you will ever see on the surface! EVERY person has stuff to contribute to the good of the kingdom - that is what bugs me about this millennial stuff - I don’t give a rip a person’s age, money status, etc - they have something they can do for God - and YOU as a minister need to help bring that out (Eph 4:8 - “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” - to verse 11 - “And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.”
AND on this point I’ve added a tag that doesn’t fit anywhere else - Don’t discard people quickly!!! Paul even learned something here - he was ready to discard John Mark - but he needed him (You know 2Ti 4 - He is useful).
- * Connect other people with other people - not just with yourself: I WANT you to know ___. “This whole thing is a puzzle you are helping to piece together” (Forbes). I am convinced there is nothing we cannot make happen with God’s People!
- * Know the The power of the Rolodex - article on the “card.” Names - wife - kids - hobbies - interests - talents. Keep a note.
- * Stay connected and be consistent: Let people know how and when you’ll contact them (and then do it). YOUNG GUYS listen - Return phone calls. Answer emails.
- * Share good stuff! I know a guy who has limited skills - BUT he collects great stuff and he is a hero cause he shares his good stuff with others!!