There are so many things I love about youth ministry, and one of my favorites has to be the incredible network of youth workers, friends and congregants that are afforded to people who do ministry in the local church. The diversity of people, vocations, passions and connections is immense and the opportunity for us is to be brokers of those relationships.
A few days ago, I was able to connect with a friend of mine who was in town for a short time. He is a successful and well-known Christian artist, incredibly humble and someone who has so much wisdom to offer. In the same week, one of our volunteer worship leaders named Amber came and talked to me about a growing sense that God was calling her to more seriously pursue music ministry. So I did what I thought I should do, set a up a coffee meeting for the three of us so that Amber could connect with him and ask questions that I would never know the answers to. The meeting was a huge success and here are four reasons you should be setting these meetings up too.
1—You know a lot of people: Being a pastor in a church means that you know more people than most, and usually in a more than surface level way. You know people’s stories, their giftings and vocation, and now it’s time to use that knowledge. You have more connections than a cross country Greyhound bus trip and it is high time to leverage them. It would be easy to hoard those connections or forget that there are people you know who want to serve and don’t know how, and others that need help and don’t know where to get it from.
2—It’s generous and facilitates generosity: They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and those relationships are valuable. Relationships are an extremely valuable resource that each of us possess, but many don’t realize the impact that being generous with those relationships can have. Recently, a family from our ministry had a flood in their kitchen. With no insurance and facing a $20,000 repair bill in early December, they didn’t know what to do. I called a contractor from the church and told him about the situation and he stepped in and took care of the rest. A few weeks later, they have a brand new kitchen, and thanks to his relationships with vendors that he leveraged, the family was handed an invoice for zero dollars just before Christmas. I did almost no work other than connecting two people that otherwise would have not known one another. Let’s stop hoarding our connections!
3—It could change someone’s life: Connecting two people who don’t know one another can be risky. They might hit it off, it might be oil and water or just be plain awkward, but with all the risks, the potential gain still outweighs possible negative outcomes. As I sat and watched this meeting between Amber and my friend, I was struck by the fact that this meeting might be a life changing moment. In a 40-minute meeting at Starbucks, she was able to flush out this calling with someone else who was called to worship, she was encouraged by someone that had no obvious obligation to do so, and was invited to apply to study in London for a year to pursue a further exploration of a call to ministry. It took only a few minutes to organize, but those minutes could end up having a lifetime of impact.
4—It’s a blessing to all: For a student, getting the opportunity to meet someone they respect with a ton of experience and credibility in their field is a huge gift, the same goes for the person meeting them. Having your skills and wisdom valued will always pump your tires up, and having the opportunity to bring an experienced, balanced perspective is something I value each and every time. For the person organizing that meeting, the experience is equally fulfilling as you see this exchange of curiosity and knowledge.
There is something beautiful about the intergenerational nature of the church, as a people from all walks and stages of life come together. Each of these people has a story, a skill set and something to offer someone else, and it is our job as ministers to bring people together and broker the exchange of knowledge and wisdom with which one generation could inspire or serve the next.