Network of Professionals

Yesterday I spent some time on the phone with a youth worker friend advising him that he needed to begin to build a network of professionals if he didn't already have one.

One of the things that you have to learn in ministry is to know when to refer. Know your limits. I began to learn this years ago when I was just starting out in ministry. I encountered some particularly tough situations but fortunately I had a small network of professionals that I had built and was able to turn to in times of crisis as well as when there were things I faced beyond my expertise.

I saw the payoff years ago when I was a director of a youth recreational center and we had hundreds of teenagers coming through our doors from week to week. During one period we had reports coming to us that teenagers were passing drugs on-site. Fortunately I had a friend who was a police officer and immediately phoned him. This officer, because we were friends and because he was a follower of Christ, knew we were operating a ministry and handled the situation with great sensitivity. He and a couple of friends began to monitor activities at our center and reports of drug activity soon diminished. There was one unfortunate night I'll never forget where he had to take a few teenagers into custody because of drugs but again, he handled things with sensitivity and we were blessed as a result.

Years later I still have a network of professionals. And anytime I relocate to a different area I immediately begin making friends with Christian counselors and officers among others because I've learned that they are invaluable partners in ministry.

If you are new to the field or don't currently have a network like this I'd suggest tapping some of your colleagues in ministry first. Seek out other youth workers or pastors to see if they may already have connections. Help yourself in the long run by building a network of professionals.

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