Networking

I meet talented, smart, interesting people all the time who admit they’re nervous to connect with others. These people avoid networking events and chances to “mingle” before and after church because the idea of standing around making smalltalk sounds petrifying to them.

These are people of all ages, backgrounds and with all different experiences, but the complaints are still the same.

“I’m shy.”

“I’m not good with people.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I’m an introvert.”

I don’t want to ignore the fact that differences in temperament and personality do exist (a very intriguing and well-researched book about the introvert/extrovert dilemma is called “Quiet” by Susan Cain).

It’s just that I don’t think being an introvert, or even being shy, means you don’t have what it takes to connect in a meaningful way with others.

I’m an introvert, and connecting with others is one of the skills that, by the grace of God, I’ve been able to develop over the years. And, although I sound like a broken record, connecting with others is a skill you must master if you want to live up to your full potential in life and ministry.

Why do so many competent, capable people have a hard time connecting?

What makes them think they’re “not good with people”?

I think there are many reasons, but they all stem from the same place—insecurity.

If you are not secure in your identity in Christ—if you’re waiting for others to tell you are loved and valuable—connecting will always be scary (and you won’t ever be likable). Because no matter how many skills you learn to connect with others, no matter how much you practice, nothing can make up for the peace and security that comes when you know you don’t have to perform for others.

You already matter.

The worst part about insecurity is it tends to be a self-fufilling prophecy. You feel insecure, so you try to perform. When you perform, you’re not authentic. When you’re not authentic, people tend to notice. When they notice, they either criticize or disconnect.

And when they criticize or disconnect, it seems to reaffirm what you were worried about all along… that you “aren’t good with people.”

So what do you do to overcome your insecurity?

I don’t know that we ever overcome our insecurity 100 percent during our lifetime, but I think we can make really good progress if we’re willing to submit our lives to God and believe the truth of what He says about us.

The first place to start is recognizing the source.

To discover the source of your insecurity, ask yourself this: What would be the worst thing another person could think or say about you? If I were going to start a rumor about you, or talk about you behind your back, what would be the worst thing I could say?

That you aren’t smart?

You aren’t nice?

You aren’t funny?

Chances are, the way you answer that question is getting to the root of your insecurity. At that root is (usually) a lie you believe about yourself. Some people are insecure about the way they look (they’ve believed the lie they are ugly), others are insecure about their intelligence (they’ve believed the lie they aren’t smart), and others are insecure that they aren’t interesting or important (they’ve believed the lie they don’t matter).

What is your biggest insecurity? How is it holding you back?

Once you’ve identified the source of your insecurity, you can fight it with truth. John 8:32 says the truth shall set you free.

Do you know the truth of what God says about you?

If not, now would be a good time to get to work reading scripture. Look for verses that remind you the value you have in Christ. Commit these verses to memory, and use them to replace the lies you’ve believed about yourself.

Then, get to work connecting to others. Nothing will be more satisfying.

With more than a dozen years of local church ministry, Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the kingdom. He is the founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and MinistryCoach.tv, all while staying involved in the local church. Justin serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominantly working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people.

For the original article, visit justinlathrop.com.

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Some of the toughest lessons reap the greatest rewards.

    10 Tough Lessons Every Pastor Should Remember in Ground-Shaking Trials

    One is that your suffering may turn out to be the highest compliment the Father ever gave you.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders