Yesterday I took a course about Networking which my company offered. It lasted for three hours but a lot of material was covered within that time. I learned the importance of networking. I learned how people met individuals through their social network contacts which they could not have done otherwise. Doors which were closed through the regular channels were opened because people connected with the right people. There are lots of social networking options out there–Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin to mention a few. People simply want to connect with each other. However, it takes time, something which many of us do not have because of our busy lives, families, commitments, etc.
Is there social networking in the Bible? I can think of some examples. Naaman’s servant girl knew that Elijah could heal him of his leprosy so she suggested that he could and see the prophet. John the Baptist changed the lives of his disciples, Andrew and Philip when he connected them to Jesus. Andrew then introduced his brother Peter to Jesus and Philip brought his friend Nathaniel to Jesus.
Jesus introduced Himself to James and John and Matthew. Matthew invited his friends, fellow tax-collectors and others to dinner so that they could meet Jesus.
Four friends who heard about Jesus brought their friend to Him to be healed. The countless people brought their sick to Him. Women brought their children to be blessed. The leper approached Jesus even though in society lepers were shunned and some times stoned because they were considered unclean. The woman of Canaan made direct contact with Jesus and as a result of her persistence her daughter was healed.
Networking sometimes requires boldness–stepping out of the comfort zone and putting yourself out there. There are hits and misses but nothing ventured nothing gained. Networking enables you to form new friendships, help people.
Christians need to network with each other. Making connections can help to strengthen our faith as we use social networks to encourage and help each other.
The apostle Paul was great at networking. He kept in touch with many people through letters. He wrote to people to Philemon, someone he had never met on behalf of Onesimus, a runaway slave. He wrote to Timothy, a youth pastor, giving him instructions, advice and encouragement. He heard of various troubles in the church at Corinth and wrote a letter of advice. He wrote to fellow Christians in Rome. He wrote to the churches in Galatia, Ephesus and Colosse. He wrote to Titus who was in Crete, giving him guidelines for preaching and outlining the duties of elders and deacons. Paul wrote some of these letters from prison. Paul even connected the other believers to one another. He commended Phoebe, a member of the church in Cenchrea to the church in Rome. He instructed in his letter, receive her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints, and assist her in whatever business she has need of you; for indeed she has been a helper of many and of myself also” (Romans 16:2). He instructed them to greet other believers who risked their lives for him (verses 3-15).
Social networks are great ways for families and friends to keep in touch too.
Today, I got emails from some of the people as well as the instructor from the Networking course and they want to get the networking up and running and stay connected. Peter and the other disciples stayed connected after Jesus left them and their network grew. And today, we are the beneficiaries of their networking. Let us continue to network, spreading the Gospel and bringing more people to Christ.