Buzzwords come and go, especially in the business community. There is an endless parade of trends, authors, social theories, productivity protocol, and the consultants who exist to promote and implement them. One concept which has had a long run is “Networking.”

One web site defines networking as “the exchange of information and ideas among people with a common profession or special interest, usually in an informal social setting.” It’s a great idea, one that was introduced to me by a businessman nearly thirty years ago.

But after he explained it, I quietly wondered why this was suddenly a “new idea.” Even my introvert dad was part of a large group of men who exchanged tools and helped one another. Both sets of my grand-parents had small farms in communities where “networking” was not a word, but a lifestyle. Maybe this concept had to be rediscovered in the business world because it was dying out in our culture.

It seems to me that a church, as described and modeled in the New Testament, was a natural network of folks who look after one another because of their common interests in Jesus Christ: One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one common confession, and one destiny.

Sometimes networking is viewed cynically as just a way of lining up people who can advance one’s career. But God created men and women to thrive in community. And when a church IS the Body of Christ He intends, mutual love and practical help create the ultimate Network.

I have an idea we are going to need one another more than ever in the months ahead. But you don’t have to read the latest book or attend a networking seminar. You already know the Book which pioneered the idea, and already are part of what Jesus meant when He said (John 13:34, 35) that His disciples would be known by mutual sacrificial love.

Maybe we could say that our church is an ongoing networking workshop.

“Father, we desire that Jesus’ prayer for our unity be realized in our midst, and we ask for wisdom in the coming days that we may love one another as You have loved us. Amen.”

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