The Spiritual Practice of Living a Networked Life
One of the things I’ve gotten in touch with more recently is how networking, in the best sense of the word, is a central activity in my life. For many, networking has derogatory connotations. They can probably recall a time when someone started talking at them, slapped a business card in their hand, and then moved on to the next person and did the exact same thing. It was all about the pitch, not about the relationship.
However, for me networking has more to do with engaging in mutual conversation and listening to another person’s story and needs. Then if I know of a potential resource, I volunteer to connect them. Author and network weaver, June Holley, calls this “closing triangles” by helping to form beneficial relationships. We close triangles when we assist others to make the connections they need to engage in some task.
Over the years, I’ve made network analysis presentations to a variety of church leadership groups, including the Bishops and Executives of the Pennsylvania Council of Churches. During these presentations I’ve frequently used the phrase: We’re stronger together than we are alone.
This should sound familiar to anyone in the church. All we have to do is read 1 Corinthians 12:12-24 or Romans 12:1-8. We are one body with many members, all of which are necessary for the body to function.
To live a networked life all you have to do is listen more deeply to the needs of those people with whom you are in conversation. Who do you know that can assist them? This is the kind of triangle we want to be involved in. I even consider it a spiritual practice to live a connected, networked life because we’re recognizing how we truly are stronger together.
A good resource for learning more about Network Weaving is the Network Weaver Handbook: A Guide to Transformational Networks by June Holley.