Staying connected is a critical part of leadership. Virtual connection can help, but there’s no substitute for face-to-face interaction. One of the wonderful gifts of pastoral ministry (a gift both to pastors and to church members) is that in-person contact is part of the job. Strategic connection with key members will enhance your leadership in your congregation. Getting outside your office or church meeting rooms can open up your own perspective and help you connect with others. It takes time, but it is time well spent.
In Portland, Oregon, where I live, meeting in cafes is part of the culture. If you’ve seen the TV show Portlandia, you may have seen scenes set in Oblique, a coffee shop I particularly like. One of my ministry colleagues introduced me to it. In Portland, meeting over coffee is a great way to connect. Perhaps that is true in your church and community, or there may be another culturally-appropriate way. It used to be pastoral home visitation, and that can still be true in some churches.
Here are four questions to consider:
What is the best way to connect with people in your church outside of the church building?
When was the last time you met with someone in this way?
Who are three people you might meet with next? (Examples: moderator or president, a potential leader, my biggest opponent)
When might you carve out time for these meetings?
I’d love to hear from you – how do you find ways to stay in touch with people in your church?
Rev. Margaret Marcuson works with churches that want to create a ministry that lasts and clergy who want more impact on the people they serve best. She is the author of Leaders Who Last: Sustaining Yourself and Your Ministry (Seabury, 2009). She served as pastor of the First Baptist Church of Gardner, Massachusetts for thirteen years.