2/21/12

Three Benefits of Networking

I once had a plaque in my office with birds of every kind and color perched together on one long telephone wire, chirping away. It was titled "Networking." It reminded me that no matter what ministry my friends and I have, we all have the same goal ~ to glorify God ~ and we can network together to accomplish more for the Kingdom.

Networking has been a business buzzword for some time; it took a little longer for ministries to adopt the concept.

I recently agreed to lead a group called NEWIM San Diego, a chapter of a larger group, NEWIM ~ the Network of Evangelical Women in Ministry~ a caring group of women who are committed to helping California women in ministry.

For months, while I prayed about this new role, I considered some of the benefits of networking. There are many, but I want to focus on three.

In a Network, we have the understanding to ENCOURAGE. There are things that link us ~ similar struggles and blessings ~ so we're more inclined to reach out to help. We empathize. We learn to lean on each other as we grow in trusting relationships. We love and listen to each other. We enjoy the company of others in the network. No one likes to be alone.

In a Christian network, there is a bond of Sisterhood, and as Sisters in Christ we commit to some of the "one another scriptures" ~ "love one another" (John 13:34-35), "accept one another" (Romans 15:7), "encourage one another" (1 Thessalonians 5:11), "Bear one another's burdens" (Galatians 6:2), "care for one another" (1 Corinthians 12:25), "serve one another" (Galatians 5:13; 1 Peter 4:10) and similar commands of scripture that encourage devotion, humility, etc.

In Networking, we have the responsibility to EDIFY. We do this by offering resources and positive teaching. We learn from each other. There are "one another" verses that apply here, too. Colossians 3:16 tells us to teach and even admonish one another. In other words, we are to seek after "that which is good for one another" (1 Thessalonians 5:15) and build up one another in the faith (Romans 14:19; 1 Thessalonians 5:11).

The edification process is a caring work of the NEWIM organization. We care about equipping women ~ especially women in leadership ~ for the work of the ministry, and teaching them to make wise decisions.

Finally, in Networking, we have the opportunity to ENERGIZE. We motivate our Sister-Girlfriends to dream big dreams and pursue them in the power of the Holy Spirit and under the direction of God. Further, we motivate them toward good works in order to effect change. The "one another" scripture for this is "Stimulate one another to love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:27).

In an effective network, we energize and empower the members for greater service. Although one with God is a majority, it's always easier when we have friends come alongside to help. I think of Aaron who lifted up Moses' hands in a time of weakness.

We also understand that sometimes we need to come apart for a while before we "come apart." We need times to relax, refresh, renew, and recharge (in other words, re-energize). NEWIM offers opportunities for that, too.

Who is in your network? What is its purpose? Are you encouraging, edifying, and energizing the members in your network to accomplish the goals of the group?

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