The third of the four essential elements for making any network full functional is peer relationships.
Peer relationships are the most attractive part of a network for pastoral leaders. There is nothing like a roomful of people who are sharing the risk, joy and adventure of living out God’s calling for their lives.
Whenever you have a network gathering, the main point is not information. This is not a training time: it’s a connection time. Do not fall into the trap of scripting the time, but rather allow the participants time to talk and connect, to exchange ideas, and to support one another.
Here are some helpful hints for strengthening those peer relationships:
- Create a safe environment.
- Allow plenty of time for personal interaction, storytelling, and encouragement. You’ll be amazed at how much value people walk away with.
- Don’t make your network too big. The ideal size is three leaders and one coach.
- Enjoy a meal together before, during, or after the network meetings.
- Value the participation of key congregational leaders with whenever possible.
- Many effective networks plan family or social activities beyond their regular meetings.
- Remember that the people are more important than the content.
Consider how you can encourage peer relationships in your network.