I’m teaching a seminar for KINDLE’s Recent Grads event this September around this theme. How do we stay socially healthy in a Google World. The target audience is young church workers graduated in the last 1-3 years.
It’s been an interesting project working on the handout I’ll use for the class. I now have a general framework in place for the two hour session. I’m looking for advice from you, the wonderful blog reader (this is really an effort to figure out who that one reader is…).
What advice would you give to this person:
- 22-25 years old
- Took a job working for a church in a new part of the country
- Didn’t know anyone in the new town before moving there
How might this person go about developing friendships with people both inside and outside the church? One of the unique challenges for a church worker is they’re always “on” at church, so there’s often a sense of “working”, even when out with people from church on a strictly fun basis.
Thoughts? Leave ‘em in the comments.
Jason…from one invisible blogger to another! 🙂
My suggestion would be to put away the iPhone (or equivilent) whenever you are at the church or out with people.
One of the struggles I have when trying to get to know people is the (usually false) perception that they already have their circle of friends and don’t need me. And good relationships are based on a mutual need/desire for that friendship. In this day of cell phones, texting, Facebook, and Twitter, it is very easy for the new church worker in a new part of the country to keep in touch with their close friends from home and/or school – any time, any where. Unfortunately, however, it can give the impression that you have no need of new friendships and could cause people to think you are “all set.” The mutual need is not there, so any relationships that do crop up are in the context of you be “on”, or “working” and can be rather one-sided.
So, even if it’s just for the first 6 months to a year, committ to keeping in touch with home/school friends when you are by yourself and allow yourself to appear “needy” of other people. I’m willing to bet the relationships begun in that time will have a great foundation.
OK – I’m done with the sermonette. I suppose this is proof that I really need to get back to the blogging! :/
I was hoping someone else would leave a comment, so you wouldn’t be limited to Fesmire comments, but I can’t wait any longer! 🙂
I would suggest not being afraid to look outside your own church and (gasp) even denomination for other believers you might befriend. Attend groups that will help you find peers, or mentors who can encourage you. In church work, it is important to build relationships outside your own church, since not everyone gets a “Sue Steege” gig that lasts a lifetime! 😉 Networking can be good for your accountability, encouragement and friendships. And out of church friends can be that down time you need, so that you can distinguish your on and off time.
Fesmire comments are not “limited”, they’re helpful! 🙂
Great points from both of you. We’re going to spend some time talking about both of these things. The phone is a weird double-edged sword. The author of TechFasting.com said the phone allows us to be “close to distant people” but “distant to close people.”
The networking thing is certainly important as well. All three places I’ve lived, I’ve connected with other church workers. Most of them were from our church body, but there were a few that weren’t, which is indeed helpful as it gives new perspectives on things.
I think that most people don’t see church workers as employed by them, they see Christians that are compensated because they spent so much of there time working for Christ.
Sometime they just need to pick someone they like and say hey lets grab a beer or a coke, or a dinner, I would like to learn more about you and your family or about the area.
They need to know that most folks don’t want to infringe on there free time because they see them working so hard.