Last weekend I was in a small town outside of Minneapolis where I witnessed something I rarely see in the world of youth ministry. I saw a network of 8 youth workers from different ministries come together to share ideas and do ministry together.
I almost pinched myself. A Lutheran, a Baptist, a Methodist, someone from the Covenant church and a Campus Life leader were drinking coffee together (sounds like a joke, right?) Yes, it’s not the first time I’ve seen it, but let’s just say I don’t see it often.
The youth ministry buzzword at hand here is called Networking. Faith leaders coming together to encourage each other, support one another and talk ministry. It’s something that doesn’t happen as often as it should.
I know, because I fly into about 30 cities a year to speak at conferences and events. In the majority of the cities I’ll sit down at dinner with a youth pastor and begin talking ministry. I always ask, “Do you know the youth pastor at the big white church I passed two blocks South? What about the church two blocks east across the park?”
4 out of 5 times the answer is, “No.”
“I’ve just been really busy. I’ve been trying to get things in motion here first, then I intend to start networking.”
Sadly, it rarely happens.
This small network outside of Minneapolis not only meets regularly, they run a weekly campus ministry together. Eight churches and Campus Life combine efforts to feed 400 to 450 kids weekly at the local high school. One of the churches is strategically located across the street from the school. Every Thursday, students have the option of going “to church” for lunch. They eat, they have fun, and they hear a little truth from God’s word.
The eight churches take turns providing the lunch, and all the churches provide leaders who interact with the kids each week.
None of the churches could do it on their own. But eight churches standing together… stronger than the Ecclesiastes 4 cord of three strands!
What might you accomplish if you came together like this?
What’s stopping you from stopping by that church down the street and inviting the youth worker to lunch this week?
JONATHAN DIVES INTO NETWORKING EVEN DEEPER IN THIS FREE TRAINING TOOLS ARTICLE: NETWORKING, VITAL… YET IGNORED