Although connection and community have always been important, the power of networking with people is becoming increasingly significant.
We all seem to arrive upon the life’s landscape with an independent chromozone. Every parent has heard their little one unequivocally announce, “I do it myself!” Every parent has also watched the ensuing struggle to learn — often through scraped knees and bruised shins.
Hopefully, we all eventually realize life was never meant to be a solo journey. We overcome as we form strategic partnerships. We need others!
My natural introverted nature resists reaching out and developing the communities that God knows I need to successfully press beyond personal incapabilities.
“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”
Networking in the Workplace
As an author and communicator without formal training, I lean heavily upon pioneers who have paved the way. Old in years never guarantees wisdom or maturity. Those much younger may carry a wealth of knowledge and creative insight all would benefit from.
Pride might be the greatest inhibitor to developing strong workplace networks. Humility elevates and promotes each other for mutual benefit.
I have reaped the rewards from these workplace networks:
- Enroll in courses and training modules.
- Seek the critique of others.
- Create support groups for mutual development and encouragement.
- Openly and freely share knowledge.
- Strive for team excellency.
Though it might seem counter cultural, our greatest success comes by advancing others. Let us develop a culture of promoting and applauding those around us.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.”
1 Corinthians 12:27
Jesus’ workplace revolved around ministry — ministry He could have easily accomplished alone. Yet, he chose to train and advance others, launching them into similar areas of ministry. The four Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, could easily be viewed as a manual for elevating and promoting others in the workplace. In everything He did, Jesus demonstrated the power of networking with people, even messed up people.
I would be amiss to not mention the faithful group of women who sacrifically promoted Jesus’ work. They supported Him financially and practically.
Networking in Community
Jesus maintained several layers of community, refusing to function in isolation. His circles included:
- His three closest friends and collegues (Mark 9:2)
- A slightly larger group of twelve shared ministry and life — eating and travelling together, even seeing Jesus exhausted, hungry, and pressured (Luke 6:12-16)
- Seventy-two sat under His teaching and entered into ministry (Luke 10:1)
- Finally, the crowds who followed were released from demonic possession, healed of diseases, and restored to relationships (Luke 14:25)
What are your community circles? Do you have a small group of close friends who walk beside you through ups and downs? Do you have a larger network of comfort and support among your family or church? Are you connected where you live, impacting the lives of others for the advancement of the Kingdom of God?
I recently read that the greatest human need is for connection. Without personal networks, we feel deprived and empty. Only in and through interconnected relationships will we achieve all God desires for us. The power of networking with people comes alive in integrated healthy community circles.
” . . . I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”
Networking presents risks. As much as we need these networks, we have all been wounded or taken advantage of by communities that meant to assist and support. Within the context off community healing also effectively flows.
Networking in Prayer
I have vividly seen the value of many network communities. However, the greatest aspect of united agreement flows out of joint networking within prayer circles. Here again, we look to Jesus and those who followed Him.
- Jesus took His eleven disciples with Him to the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32)
- Eight stayed prayed from distance (Mark 14:32)
- Three followed closer, overhearing His prayers and seeing His travail (Mark 14:33)
- About one hundred and twenty of His followers waited in the upper room, continuously in prayer after his ascension (Acts 1:12-15)
- The early church devoted themselves to corporate prayer (Acts 4:42)
Prayer networks require committment. I have learned to purposefully create prayer teams of support for the projects I work on. I also commit to network in prayer with women who mentor me as I mentor others. Our foundation is prayer. Christian churches and organizes also maintain local, national, and international prayer initiatives.
These prayer circles support while being supported. Nothing significant for God ever occurs apart from the power of networking in prayer.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11
Never too Busy to Network
One of the biggest excuses standing in the way of healthy networking is over-activity. To receive the full benefits of the power of networking, adjustments and prioritizing our schedules becomes essential.
The second hindrance to strong community networks might possibly be personal insecuity. One of the reasons I hesitated so long to begin a women’s group was the feelings of intimidation and insecurity. Gulp!!! By pushing aside our fears, past failures, and pride we will reap the benefits of amazing networks waiting for us.
Finally, everything Jesus taught ran countercultural. Networking is a prime example.
As application points, let’s look honestly (and without condemnation) at how we are personally interacting within networks.
- Do I carry wounds from network communities that I need healing from?
- What networks should I prioritize in work, community, and prayer?
- Do I need to relinquish independence or insecurity to move into healthy communities?
“Lord Jesus, I ask You to knit us together into vibrant, healthy, thriving communities. Move us forward together so we all reach our ultimate potential and efficacy. I ask You to clearly demonstrate the power of networking Your way. Amen.”