In both secular and vocational service, there are different kinds of people. Some are the big picture folks, the visionaries, who lead others toward a specific goal. Then there are the promoters or proclaimers, who are on the front lines of getting the word out, building up the business. There are others, like me, who are often behind the scenes, serving as the worker bees or administrators—we deal with the details of the task at hand.
Then there are the networkers.
Networkers can be involved in any level of the mission or business, but they are gifted in a special way to draw people together from a wide-variety of backgrounds. With what purpose? To support the mission. They see a person who has an expertise in a certain area, and they want to connect them to a team member with that need. They know people with significant financial resources, and so, connect them with someone who can effectively present the vision and needs. Or, they see an individual, who is feeling isolated and needs encouragement, so they connect them with known prayer warriors and supporters.
Blessed are the networkers.
I’ve known many networkers over the years, but recently sat in the presence of one very close to me—my brother. He had called up a seemingly random group of people, including myself, to join him for dinner. The purpose? To hear from a person serving in a hard place. The ultimate purpose? To see what God had in mind through these connections.
What makes my brother one of these blessed networkers? He’s a natural encourager. Much like Barnabas, the encourager. And what did he do? He saw a need in Antioch and went all the way to Tarsus to look for Saul, a recent convert to the Way. He went all that way, knowing that Saul had something the folks in Antioch needed. That’s some networking! Well, it’s that same gift of encouragement that moved my brother to connect us with this servant in need.
Though networkers can be big talkers, when they’re in networking mode, they actually say very little. That’s what I saw in my brother that day. He introduced and then stepped back. He focused that day on cooking and providing the welcoming space for connections to be made. That must have been hard for him, I thought, but then I knew what he was doing. It wasn’t his time to talk. He didn’t want to get in the way of what God needed to do.
Networkers are finally blessed because God uses them to help the various members in the Body of Christ see the importance of using their unique gifts for a common task. I knew that the reason I was with a group of strangers that day was different that the reason others were. My brother wanted me to connect, so I could support this worker by pouring into her from my own mission experience. Others were there who had never served overseas, so my brother asked them to use other giftings to support and encourage. Networkers recognize the gifts and talents of others and have insight into how they can become part of something bigger than themselves.
Do you have a networker in your life? Are you a networker? Does God want to use you to encourage and support others or engage others in the work of the Kingdom? Either way, you’ll be blessed if you do.
Grace and Peace