I'm a big fan of networking. Networking computers, networking sound equipment, heck I've even got my TiVo networked to my Mac so it will play my iTunes library through my surround sound system. But that's not the kind of networking I'm talking about. I mean getting out to meet people, key people who can help you and who you can help. Both Greg Atkinson and Anthony Coppadge have written posts about networking in the last few days. They are both worth reading, and both provide excellent thoughts on the subject.
Personally, I've found networking to be very useful. I only really started a few years ago, when I was living in a new city with few friends and no job. In a matter of months, I learned to network, met over 150 people and found a job that I would never have heard about if not for networking.
But what does it mean for us working in a church setting? I think networking is just as important. Given that I have just started at Upper Room, and the fact that I love it, I'm not about to start networking to find another job. On the other hand, we have some big purchases to make and being new in town, I don't know who the good people to work with are. But there are TADs in other churches who do.
We occasionally have need of some additional equipment, and sometimes I don't have direct experience with a particular brand or type of gear. But there are TADs in other churches who do. Already I've run into a few situations in dealing with people and I'm not quite sure the best way to respond. I'd be willing to be there's a TAD somewhere around here who has had to deal with a similar issue that I could learn from.
And there may even be a TAD of a smaller church who is new to this type of ministry who is struggling to find their way. I might be able to be a resource and source of encouragement for him or her.
I believe in networking so strongly that I put it on my list of quarterly goals with my supervisor. My goal is to begin meeting with other TDs in the area, and ultimately build a group of people that meet once a month at each other's churches for lunch and fellowship. We'll be the Twin Cities TADs. Or something like that.
When I set my goals for the year, I knew Q1 would be crazy with all the physical plant stuff I was working on, and just getting up to speed in a new church. So I put networking starting in Q2. According to my calendar, it's now Q2. I guess I'd better get started!