In May of 1995 I was a brand new Youth Pastor in Roseburg, Oregon when I received a phone call from the local Youth For Christ guy inviting me to Mom’s Cafe. This is where the local Youth Pastor network met once a month for breakfast. I felt a little bit like the new kid at the new school when I walked into the cafe and heard the laughter of men who were obviously familiar with one another. I was welcomed well. They each took the time to introduce themselves and I was given a few minutes to tell my story as well.
After the highly greasy, yet very good, breakfast, Kirk Petersen approached me with his business card in hand and said, call me, I’ll treat you to lunch. Having been a starving student just 2 weeks prior, I took him up on his offer (I think I waited a full day before calling him, didn’t want to be too forward). Kirk (and subsequently the entire YP network) welcomed me to Roseburg and the ministry in a very genuine way.
To this day, Kirk is a great friend. He is now in Portland and still in ministry (though not youth). He and the other guys in Roseburg helped set a standard of excellence I strive for in networking… that is, to be Biblical. In Acts 2 we read about the believers being devoted to each other, the Apostles teaching, to breaking of bread and to prayer. Obviously we are supposed to experience this within the context of our local body. But the refuge aspect of having this outside of your body was very needed for me in Youth Ministry.
For the last four plus years I have been networked locally with the guys in West Seattle/Burien/Des Moines. In fact, I am at Olympic Coffee right now, where we have met for the last couple years. It has been my prayer that I could be a “Kirk Petersen” to the guys in my local network. I hope the new guys feel welcome and the old guys continue to be devoted to one another, prayer and to the breaking of bread. We too, have that familiar laugh of men (and ladies) that know each other. We enjoy being a refuge for one another and we occasionally partner together by doing events for the greater local body!
It is my hope to be even more involved with networking through Youthmark. I am a member of the National Network of Youth Ministry, and one things I’d like to see happen the the greater south-end is to see some stronger Youth Ministry networking take place. Pray that I can help get those started/strengthened.
Whether you’re involved in youth ministry or not, I hope you have a network of people you can do life with. One in which you can spur each other in the Word, spend time in prayer, laugh together (and probably cry too) and, of course, break bread!
Though only one other guy showed up this morning (way to go Schlaud), we will still “break bread” together… off to our favorite local eatery, La Costa! One of the greatest benefits of networking!