The first barrier in regards to networking that we discussed at the retreat was the “Relational Barriers”. These stemmed from many times a lack of trust of people in other organizations. You may have a desire to network, but have been burned or even felt used at other times while networking. The people who brought you together were very agenda driven for their purpose and not seeking the greater good for all the people. This many times may come in the form of an event driven networking meeting. A group is coming to town to put on an event, but do not listen to what your community may need. They have a predetermined package that they come to the table with and are looking for you to support it. I am aware that not all events are bad (we do host RELOAD), but some cities or communities may not need another event and may not need a RELOAD. I do not blame them to put up these “Relational Barriers” to networking, because they are protecting themselves from being used or burned again.
How do we as networkers begin to breakthrough this “Relational Barrier” and bring people together for a Kingdom agenda? Our group that had gathered in the mountains for 24 hours came up with a few solutions. They determined the first issue was for us who are gathering the people to do a heart check of our purpose and make sure that we are abiding in Christ, praying for unity and letting the Holy Spirit lead the way. Our selfish ambitions in regards to our organizations and events need to not lead the way. The next step was to do a better job of listening and building intentional friendships. We need to not meet always with an agenda, but with the purpose of building real relationships and understanding how each other ticks and how God has made each other unique. We need to look for ways to serve and love them. The question that we need to ask, “How do we add value to each other?” The value added question i think will appear and reappear in the discussion of networking, because that is when we think less of ourselves and more about them. We also discussed getting away from networking for the purpose of an event. If we begin to meet together for an event, when the event ends our group ends. If we are meeting together for the purpose of helping youth workers in our region stay in ministry longer or to stop the gang violence in our city. The group will be able to support events that come to town, but it is a secondary purpose and the group will have the ability to filter what events come to town. The last solution is to allow ownership of the group to more people than yourself. We need to develop the group to have shared leadership, so no one persons agenda is the driving force.
Q: Did we begin to create some answers to “Relational Barriers”? What other solutions do you see in breaking through this issue?