How to Network in Ministry

The concept of networking and creating opportunities with a symbol of guidance and faith

National Association of Christian Ministers Leadership Series

By Michael Mooney, NACM Exec. Elder

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” -Sir Francis Bacon

The truth is that all of us desire opportunities.  Some want jobs, others want contacts, and some want to minster in new places, etc.  However, the human condition is to place our desires before those of others.  Often we do this without ever realizing it.  We meet new people and throw out a little “bait and hook” in the form of attempts to find similar interests.  If we are not careful, we end up talking solely in terms of our interests, dreams, hopes, and desires. When the other person does not soon respond to meeting our interests we determine that we have nothing in common. In other words, we decide that there is no perceived future value to continuing the relationship.

    • This approach is very contrary to Paul’s instruction: Do not let each man look upon his own things, but each man also on the things of others (Php 2:4 MKJV).

Ironically, it is the people who look on the interests of others that turn out to be counted among some of the best net-workers in the world.  There is a strange phenomenon that has been observed in human behavior.

    • The people who talk the least and listen the most are often perceived as “good conversationalists.”
    • People who give the most often get more only to be happy in giving it away (Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35).
    • People who serve first are often selected to lead later (Mat 19:30).

Consider the below things that most Christian ministers have in common:

    • 1) We all love Jesus
    • 2) We all wish to minister to others in some way or another
    • 3) We all have a need or desire (work, opportunities, etc.)
    • 4) We all have a way to help someone else meet their need or desire (we know someone with a job opening, ministry opportunity, or posses some
    • technical knowledge, etc.)

Knowing this is essential.  Zig Ziglar says:

“You can have anything in life that you want, if you will be willing to help someone else get what they want”.

The problem is that many people want opportunities, but they are not positioning themselves to make opportunities for others. This is why networking does not work for them.  May we be careful to remember Paul?s instruction in Php 2:4, and go into the world making more opportunities than we find.  Doing this will change the world for others, as well as ourselves.  Opportunities will become more abundant than we ever imagined!

Reflective Questions:

1) Have you ever been guilty of talking strictly in terms of your own interests?  Do you care to share an example?

2) How can you improve your interpersonal skills by talking in terms of other people’s interests?

3) What can you learn from listening to other people’s interests?

4) How can you become more cognizant of making opportunities for others (based on their interests) in a way that also creates potential opportunities for yourself?  Hint: “win-win” situations.

5) How does Php 2:4 add new meaning to the way you view the subject of “networking”.