Getting up at 4am EST was just draining. I had to force down my Life cereal (because Mikey likes it) and drive in darkness to BWI. Then I sifted through security and found myself struggling to sleep while the guy next to me on the plane snored. But, after landing safely in Denver, I felt my exhaustion turn into excitement, because in minutes I would be reunited with fellow youth pastors.
I love connecting with other youth pastors because of the camaraderie and learning. I love the connecting because I’m an extrovert; however, I’m a little shy. When I’m in a situation where I don’t know anyone, it takes me a while to warm up. I feel like I need an in, an opportunity to get the conversation rolling. For me networking is one of the most important parts of ministry, but to get started can be rather intimidating. I know for me I used to really struggle reaching out because:
I feared being Judged: Was I experienced enough? Did I know the right things to say? Would I be excepted despite my denomination (Roman Catholic)? Would I make a fool of myself? These questions would plague my confidence, causing me to wait for someone to approach me.
I thought I had nothing to Contribute: What did I know? I didn’t go to seminary, my degree was a BA in Communication Arts. I didn’t know how my background could contribute to theirs.
Maybe your struggles are different than mine. Despite the reason you need to face the fears, take the risk and lean into the relationships before you miss out. Never think less of yourself, just know God has put you in that moment, to reach out, say your name and build relationships.
For those of you who are comfortable with networking, never hesitate to reach out. When you can you could be opening the door for someone struggling to open up. I still have some shyness, but I’ve learned to take the risk, because if it’s a God honoring community they’ll love you no matter what.
What mediums do you use for networking? What struggles do you have to consistenlty connect?