Network Mapping and Ministry
In early March, I attended the ELCA Lifelong Learning Partners Network gathering at Spirit in the Desert Retreat Center in Carefree, Arizona. I’ve served on the Planning Team for the annual gathering for a couple of years but this time, Pastor Dick Bruesehoff, Outreach Coordinator for Portico Benefit Services, and I facilitated the program piece of the event. We’ve been collaborating on faith-based networking for a while. At this particular gathering we facilitated the Net Work Café, utilizing principles identified by The World Café and also engaged the group in a Net Work mapping exercise.
Individually, both Dick and I have invited other groups into a network mapping process. I most recently did this in the Western Iowa Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America at their winter Spirituality Retreat where pastors mapped their congregational and personal networks.
I never cease to be amazed at how focused people get on the work of identifying all the connections in their ministry and lives. That happened in Arizona, too. The room was silent as people individually worked on their networks maps. When we asked them to break into small groups to talk about what they’d discovered, the room came alive with animated (and loud!) conversation.
When we map our networks we’re really taking on the task of identifying our ministry assets. We typically discover that we have more assets than we originally thought but we can also see where we need to work on further development. Who’s not on our maps and who do we need to draw in?
See the November 2011 issue of The RevWriter Resource for more information on how to map your network and the types of things to look for. Let me know what you discover!