imagesCAC0CTKZ[dc]N[/dc]etworking is contact sport – the more contacts, the wider the network. Knowing how to use your network effectively will help you find your next interim placement.

You may react negatively to that word, thinking networking is all about “getting”. It is not. Networking is giving people the opportunity to find the same joy in ministry that you know on a daily basis.

If you follow these 9 steps, you’re more likely to find the right interim placement at the right time.

#1 Make a list. Don’t make a random list. Think of this as a marketing campaign. Who needs to join your team to make the campaign a success? You need people who will share ideas, contacts, resources, information and time. Systematically organizing them into a list is the first step.

#2 Say “Thank you”. I wish I didn’t have to remind you to do this (so does your mother). Many people were surprised when I thanked them for their time and their unique contributions to my search campaign. I realized that they had never been thanked for their selfless ministry.

#3 Find a “rainmaker”. During one search I found a backer who could “make it rain”. They provided time, money and resources and marshaled the support of others who invested in my ministry.

#4 Hire a “Drill Instructor”. My “Drill Instructor” told me to make a list of my twenty best contacts. When I came back with twenty, he urged me to expand it to 50. With this simple “nudge” (“Drop and give me 50”) I had a “call list” that kept me in a productive search for the next two months.

#5 Communicate with your team REGULARLY. Call them. Write them. Share your interests and expertise and find out about theirs. If possible, meet with them face to face.

#6 Be unforgettable. Help them remember by meeting their needs. One contact told me that her 16 year old daughter loved honey on her waffles. I had a friend who keeps bees ship fresh honey. Next time she heard of an opening I got an e-mail telling me about it.

#7 Find a “wizard”. One man who had been around ministry a long time said his “gift” was sharing his “golden Rolodex”. He seemed to have a connection EVERYWHERE I was interested in talking to someone. He was my “wizard” when I needed introductions, which is as good as magic.

#8 Ask the best last question. “Is there anyone else you think it would be good for me to talk with?” You’re not asking for a job, you’re helping them think along with you about the Kingdom. One individual I know tracked 72 connections from one meeting, just by asking this question.

Respect the people on the team you’ve enlisted. God put them there because ministry is a team sport. To paraphrase Jerry Maguire, “Help them help you” by networking them.

# 9 …

By now you’re realizing there are only 8 steps listed. It’s because you’ve got number 9. Why not share your networking tip?