Do you have your elevator speech ready? You know, the speech you give when someone asks what you do? Take 30 seconds to describe yourself are and what you do (the approximate length of time you have with another person in the elevator). This past weekend I gave that speech a number of times at the National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC). Don’t get me wrong, I love sharing the story of Youthmark, but, I long for the deeper conversations with trusted friends.
Though the national reunion at the NYWC provided some fantastic networking opportunities (and in-depth relationship) I was continually thankful for real-life being shared in my local networks! So, by way of transition (with focus being more on local) I’ll continue my TOP 10 Networking Benefits by giving you the countdown from five to one (10 to six are posted here).
Five: Shared Discipleship. We share students. Some of our students attend one church on Sunday with family and another one on Wednesday for Youth Group. Tag-teaming in discipleship through networks allows us to be on the same page with families and with individuals. We’ve been amazed at some of the discoveries we’ve made in network that have led to reconciliation of families, sexual abuse being reported and many positive spiritual advancements!
Four: Accountability. There are so many common struggles with relationships, sin, ministry issues and much more. At times of weakness I have been gently rebuked, uniquely encouraged or just spurred on in love and deed. Accountability isn’t always about being asked the “tough questions,” it’s nice to know I have a place I can safely go and make the “tough confessions.”
Three: Witness. You don’t often see a group of three to 10 folk gathering, laughing, talking and then praying. Our network gatherings have brought about a number of gospel opportunities with onlookers asking “who are you people?” In one situation we were able to follow up with an onlooker and lead him to a relationship with Jesus.
Two: Network Missions. On a few occasions our groups have gone out on mission trips together! This has been awesome especially in light of the philosophy that I believe in–Mission51! That is, I believe the mission trip is not the end-all, in fact, we ought to be training our students for the 51 weeks beyond the mission. Well, in a network context, these students who went out to Mexico, California, Costa Rica or Alaska together and served on a mission trip, are coming back to the same campus, clubs and community together for the mission at home! I’d love to see Youthmark do this with more networks!
One: Refuge and Prayer. Our network is safe. I am known in this tribe and I know that I am supported in prayer. If our group “errors” on one side, it’s that we want to love on each other and pray for one another more than anything else. This, of course, is not an error at all. We are trusting the Holy Spirit for great things in our own lives, ministries and geographical area; getting together to lift one another up is enough reason for a network to exist these other 9 (and others) are just the icing on top!
What have been some of your fun stories? What are the benefits that you’ve seen come out of your connections? Let’s see this virtual network influence the other national and local networks!