Sunday, July 26, 2009

Networking Details

This past week I was asked about networking in my local area

> I hope all is well in your new appointment. I have been following your exploits on facebook. I have a question
> for you. Last week, you wrote about networking in the local community (Starbucks, etc.). I am trying to be more
> effective in my day to day ministry at networking. What specifically do you do when you network with local places? -Clergy Person A

And my reponse:
For me, I try to make as many of my interactions in the community as I can (really and truly I sometimes forget to do so, or just am not up to it at that moment, but I am practicing) about finding out something new. I want to find out from the Starbucks folks and anybody I run into in business, how they are doing that day, and if I can slide it in, when it isn't too busy, I ask personal questions. The three I hold to are: What is your name? Do you go to church? and then in response to the answer of the second question - if yes, "Why do you go where you go?"; if no, "What keeps you from going?". I will often introduce myself as the "new" pastor in town (though when I was a little longer in one place I did phrase it as, "I am trying to find out some more about my community.")
The first time out I never invite them to church, I just inform them where I am. I may ask them if they are working in a business to consider what they might need. I try my best to follow up in three to four weeks, with questions about what they need, and how they see those needs being met. I want to then reflect that back to the congregation I serve so that they can see what kinds of ministry doors are being opened to them.
With the changes in effect from the "Faith-based Initiatives" from President G.W.Bush, I also try to schedule meetings with the principals in the local schools around the church, to try and find out what I can about their needs, the problems and the strengths to find where we mesh.
As additional meetings, I have gone out to talk to the Police, Sheriff, Fire and even with City and County Council (I am in the process of making some of those connections now in Santa Maria). I want to get a strong sense of the pulse of the town. I want to know where the "immigrant workers" congregate. I want to see the town from several angles. To that end, I have set up meetings with one of our local vintners to tour his fields, and with a former Ag teacher to give me a look around the fields and help me learn what is being grown where in Santa Maria.
I also try to observe as much as possible so that when I run into someone about town, I have a chance to touch them, say hi and let them know that I noticed them. I had a great example of that the other day when I was at Starbucks, I saw a lot of people there for free pastry day. Later in the week, one of the teachers for the music academy was getting in his car as I was arriving to church. He was one of the people I saw at Starbucks. I hadn't introduced myself at Starbucks, but told him I remembered him from that trip, and then introduced myself in the context of the church.
I want to do my level best to be known in the community, to propigate the name of the church in as many positive ways as possible. I want to meet the people, see what the holes in society are, and find ways for the church to be meeting unmet needs of the community. But that means meeting my people, meeting the community, and exploring that which goes unseen by many. Then trying to bring together the gifts of my congregation, their desires for where they want the church to go, and the needs of the community. All three have to come together or we just go failing when we try to do something.
I hope I haven't bored you with details, but I would be happy to talk with you more, either by phone, or email, or in person. Let me know.
David Camphouse



At October 25, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello there,
My children and I have been trying to find a new church as we have not been very active as christians for quite a while. The issue right now seems to be finding the right fit for all of us. My daughter is nine years old and my son is in Jr. high. The most challenging thing is finding a church that can be fulfiling as well as informative for them, given their different age groups.... when one likes it the other doesn't. Personally I know that where I choose to worship god is not as important as having him in my heart. I want to have my children experience an enriching experience at church. What are the youth programs like for the aforementioned at your church. I tried your website but there are no detailed descriptions. We would like to attend a service as well.... hope to hear from you soon.

At October 25, 2009, Blogger David said...

Dear friend,
St. Andrew does have some programs available for the ages you named. We have a Youth Group that meets Sunday nights at 5PM. Normally, we meet at church in the fellowship hall side - in the youth lounge. Tonight we have been invited to the home of one of our youth. We will have drivers and persons at the church at 5PM to inform and direct, and to ensure all youth are able to attend. (October 25th).
For the 9 year old we have a Sunday school program that occurs during worship that is keyed on studying different books of the Bible. They are also welcome to stay and attend service. We have two worship times, as you probably noted in the website. We have only recently gotten the youth group back on track and so I apologize that it has not made it to the website in detail.
If you have other questions and would like to talk more you can reach me at david.camphouse (at) gmail (dot) com



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