From my reading in Philippians 2 in the One Year Bible New Testament.
This week I am attending a large conference with a lot of Christian “big dawgs”.
At the conference I am meeting some well known authors and pastors with large ministries.
At any conference, it is a good time to network. Networking is a dangerous game for the Christ follower. Personally I am tempted to try impress others by talking about how amazing my ministry is. I want to charm them into thinking that I am an amazing minister. This is an especially tempting thing to do with those who we look up to. But I must remind my self not to do my networking out of a selfish desire.
Paul warned us against this selfish desire to impress others.
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Phil 2:3-4
Humility is the key attitude of an effective networker.
I think there are several principles to think about in this passage that can apply to networking with humility.
Don’t be selfish
A selfish networker is more worried about using people than helping them. Instead of thinking about what opportunities this person can open up for you, think about how you can help them with their mission. Think about how you can possibly be a blessing to the people you meet.
Don’t Try To Impress Others
Pastor’s conferences can get a little weird. There is a lot of talk about how many thousand people go to their church or how many campuses they have.
There is a fine line between telling others about all the amazing things God is doing in your ministry and telling people how amazing of a minister you are! I sometimes have the fight the desire to exaggerate or share only the good things about my ministry in an attempt to impress others.
Trying to impress others backfires eventually becasue they are going to see you as you really are anyway! So you might as well be real from the start!
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.
If you have a normal sized ministry it is sometimes easy to think of others as better than yourself because often there are many ministries that are bigger and seem to be accomplishing more!
On the other hand humble people don’t get caught in the comparison game. Even if you have a more successful ministry than someone else you should still think of them as better. Humility is a posture that you must take regardless of your social standing in relation to that person.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
Asking people about their ministry and life will actually go a lot farther than bragging about everything you are doing. If they ask, you should share what God is doing but don’t assume people are interested.
If you want people to take an interest in you take an interest in others!
When people can see that you have a genuine heart to serve and not to exploit them as a “good contact” they will trust you much more! Looking out for your own interests may help you gain a following in the short term but ultimately networking should be about adding value to others and helping them, not yourself.
If you are ministering for yourself then you are in the wrong business. I pray that I will learn how to effectively network and still remain humble.
Bonus tip… If you see someone who you suspect might be “self-promoting”, humbly give that person the benefit of the doubt. You can’t judge their motives even if they approach networking in a different style than you. Humility helps us not judge others.
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