The following post was written by John Paul Basham, Student Ministry Specialist
One of the most powerful tools in any industry is networking, and it is no different for those in ministry. We can all come up with a list of reasons that we haven’t networked the way that we should, whether it be because of time constraints, not knowing where, when, or who to network with, or maybe even pride. The reality is that we weren’t created to live this life in ministry alone, and networking is a skill that, when developed, can be an incredibly beneficial resource to any minister. In this article we will look at 3 benefits that any student pastor can realize through networking.
3 Benefits Of Networking
- Inspiration. As a leader, we are constantly faced with the challenge of staying ahead of our people, staying fresh in our relationship with the Lord, and forever improving in every arena. In this struggle you will find yourself wading through seasons of clear direction and calling as well as seasons of drought. We need others to speak wisdom and insight into our hearts and ministry in every season of ministry. Instead of waiting until something isn’t working to make a change or look for a better strategy, why not put yourself in an ongoing environment of fresh initiatives and creativity, and let God work in your ministry by using the experiences of those in ministry around you?
- Accountability. Pastors and leaders all too often find themselves existing in a silo of ministry responsibilities. Practicing accountability will assist you in preventing the development of habits that are dangerous to your ministry and family. There are at least two levels of accountability that can be found through intentional networking. First, the beauty of networking with other pastors and leaders is that you are all connected through God’s call to share the Gospel and make disciples. As you strive toward this common goal together, there can develop some strong relationships which facilitate incredible conversation. To be able to bounce ideas off of an unbiased colleague, who has only the good of your ministry in mind, is invaluable, and in these conversations with trusted friends, we can be held accountable in focusing on and reaching our goals for the kingdom. Second, and most importantly, are the potential relationships that dive deeper than just programming and church practice, but delve into the realm of personal Christian disciplines. Without personal accountability to the most simple, yet most important disciplines of the faith, we are at risk of falling to countless temptations which can jeopardize the influence that we have been given.
- Kingdom Impact. Lastly, as ministers of the Gospel, we should always strive toward and pray that God would allow us to have a tremendous impact for the kingdom of God. In Ephesians 4:11-12 we see God’s plan in calling and specifically gifting those of us who have been called to be evangelists, shepherds, and teachers, etc. These gifts are given specifically so that we will “equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ”. (Eph. 4:12) This building up of the body of Christ and all that it entails should be our singular focus as ministers of the gospel. It is unto this end that we should work tirelessly and pray earnestly for God’s blessing!
Many of us have prayed for revival in our churches and in our cities, but a network of men praying together will always be more powerful than one man alone. A city full of churches praying together will bear more fruit than one church, and a nation of churches who lock arms together under the banner of Christ would be unstoppable. As you push forward in your ministries across the country and the world, I encourage you to take advantage of the networks available to you, if for no other reason than that you may join in prayer with other brothers and strive toward this heavenly endeavour together in the grace and power of Christ.