Saturday, August 30, 2008

Who's in your network?

When you're thinking about building the network you'll need* for candidacy and placement, it is helpful (and encouraging) to consider who is already in your network. When I've taught on this subject, and when I've counseled with those going through the candidacy process, I often work through this with them to demonstrate how their networks are already far more robust than they know.

So, who is in your network? Here's a list of starting points:
  • Family members
  • Seminary classmates
  • Seminary professors
  • College friends
  • Other friends
  • People from your home church(es)
  • Former campus pastor(s) or ministry worker(s)
  • People from presbytery, synod, or region association
  • Visiting pastors and/or speakers whom you have gotten to know while in seminary
  • Present and former co-workers

As you can see, that list alone could generate dozens of names-- depending on your life circumstances, perhaps even hundreds. And that is just a beginning; your circumstances will dictate how many more people you can add to the list.

So to get started "building" your network, make a list of everyone who fits into as many of these as you can. Do you have addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses for them? If not, who would you call to get them? Collect all of these together-- in your computer address book, in a notebook or planner, or however will be the most effective way to collect your names and contact information.

Don't look now, but you've got a network!

*I say "need" because I'm firmly convinced that it will be through your network that you will most likely find effective placement. As the results of my survey showed, by far most of the graduates found their placement through their network; more than that, the effective placements among them were almost all through a network. For my own experience, every ministry job I have ever had-- including my ministry jobs in seminary-- came through my network.

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