Using social media to network with other youth pastors is a lot of fun. It gives you a chance to vent, get opinions about particular bible studies, and learn from other youth pastors. However, only networking through social media will never accomplish the task of advancing the Kingdom in our communities. We’re great at connecting online, but I believe many of us fail when it comes to connecting with other youth pastors who live right around the corner from us. As youth pastors, we need to take the time to network socially, and locally as well. So here are a four ways to start networking locally:

  1. Go to luncheons. As a Baptist, we have a local Association that works with the churches in the community. Usually these Associations try to encourage and provide free training for local ministers, and most of the time these events happen through luncheons. So instead of making fun of your pastor for having to attend these meetings, next time, go with him and meet some new people. And if you’re not Baptist, find out what your denomination provides for ministers in your community and go check them out.
  2. Take a class. This one may only work if you have a seminary in your town, but if you do, go enroll in a class even if you already have a degree. Seminaries provide great places for ministers to connect, and the odds are most of the students that attend are living in your city. Use this time to meet new people, and for an added bonus, you get to learn something new.
  3. Go to conferences. If a conference comes to your city or one nearby, make time to attend. The odds are, you’ll meet new people, and some of those new people could be from your own city. Furthermore, use this opportunity to invite another local minister, you may or may not know, to the conference. The conference will provide you with plenty of topics for you two to discuss, so you’ll never have to worry about an awkward silence.
  4. Call someone. I know this is probably the most practical one on the list, but how many of us actually do this? Pick up the phone and call the youth pastor down the street. If you’re not sure if a church has a youth pastor, check their website or ask the administrative assistant, who will most likely be the one who picks up the phone. Let the assistant know who you are and that you’re trying to network with local youth ministers. The odds are, she’ll either take a message or connect you through to the youth pastor. When you get through, invite the youth pastor out to lunch, and you will now have made a new friend.

In the end, I have done all four of these, and in every instance, I have met a local youth pastor I have been able to network with. Currently, I meet with a group of local youth pastors once a month, to share our joys and troubles, encourage each other, and plan events together. Meeting once a month has been a true blessing, and I look forward to meeting with my friends all the time. Remember, networking socially is for your personal benefit, but when network locally, your students benefit as well, because now you’re showing them what it means for the church to come together. Finally, don’t forget your business card. There is nothing worse than trying to give someone your information and you don’t have a card to give them. Always keep a few on you and make sure information is up to date. Have fun networking!

What are some other ways you have been able to network locally?

If you do have a local network, what are some events you have planned together with other youth pastors?

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