We love to connect to other people with similar interests. It’s in our nature to gravitate towards those who spend their time doing what we like to do, talking about things we’re passionate about, and believing what we believe. It doesn’t take much effort to run into someone who you can bond with over the love of your favorite sports team.
But what if we intentionally put ourselves out there? What if we extend ourselves not only to gain from what others can offer, but to share what we currently have?
Here’s a few things we can all gain when we intentionally network:
Friendships and Mentoring
Jesus’ second greatest commandment is friendship. John 15:12-13 says, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”
Finding friends that encourage us, sharpen us, and challenge us is essential for our mutual growth. Friends can bring their experiences together and guide each other through tough decisions and rocky issues. Not only do you benefit from having a friend, but by being a good friend you are making an impact in that person’s life also.
Imagine for a moment how difficult it would be to make breakfast in the morning if no one shared what they have with other people. You would have to spend all of your time raising chickens for eggs, feeding dairy cows for milk, growing wheat for bread, mashing and canning berries for jam. It would be a massive undertaking. I’ve actually found a video of someone making a sandwich entirely from scratch. Pretty painstaking right?
Fortunately, there’s an awesome network of farms and factories that bring all of their products to a supermarket, saving us hundreds of hours in the process of making our beloved breakfast foods.
Sharing resources through a network is the most efficient way to help everyone succeed. The time saved by being able to simply share in what someone else has created is enormous and invaluable. The US Mission Network is building a Resource Hub so that as a team we can more easily make an impact for Christ in the YMCA. If you have resources you think would be helpful to others, let us know!
If we look at Acts Chapter 9, we can see the opportunities created due to the friendship of Barnabus to Paul. After being infamous as one persecuting Christians, Paul, known then as Saul, encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus and shortly after then began proclaiming the name of Jesus. But many were skeptical. As you can imagine, it’d be hard to accept someone has changed that has been actively executing your friends and seeking to destroy your group for a while.
Paul attempted to join the disciples gathered in Jerusalem, but understandably they were afraid at the sight of him for the things he had done. Then, rather courageously, Barnabus brought Paul before the apostles and vouched for the authenticity of Paul’s conversion. Because of this act of friendship by Barnabus, the opportunity was created for Paul to go out and spread the gospel and become one of the most powerful forces for the Kingdom of God.
The Strength to Make a Difference
Ecclesiastes 4:12 tells us of the strength of a cord as each strand is added. As our network increases in size, we can accomplish more as a body. More resources become available, more opportunities are created to make a difference in the community, and more people get the spiritual care they desperately need.