Networking: Modern Essential & Ancient Art

Social network interface businessman touch button.By Dr. Chip Roper

Networking Defined

Anticipating your next career move or business development need by constantly expanding your circle of connections and relationships.

Individuals skilled at networking identify the people they need to know and put themselves in the places and circles where they will meet them.

Why Network?  

Answer: 85%

85% of new jobs are found (and that means 85% of vacant positions are filled) through networking.[1] Which is why “networking” is a modern essential. And while we will get into practical considerations in subsequent posts, I’d like to make a case that getting yourself around the people you need to be around to get where you need to go is an ancient art as much as it is a modern essential.

The Ancient Art of Networking

There is no more detailed account of ancient practices than those that are found in the Bible. In these texts we find numerous examples of key figures intentionally networking and through those connections moving important elements of the plot line forward. Here are three examples.

  1. The ancient patriarch Abraham seeks a wife for his son Isaac. He gives his servant detailed instructions regarding where to go and where not to go, who to talk to and who not to talk to. His servant follows all the instructions and networks carefully (and also does a good bit of praying). In the end he finds a suitable bridge leading to much joy and celebration (See Genesis Chapter 24)
  2. Jesus stopped for a drink at well in the district of Samaria during the heat of the day. Samaria was a detestable area for any self-respecting Jew. As for the Samarians, only outcasts would come to a well during the heat of the day (the socially accepted women of the village would come in the cool of the morning or evening). But a woman came there to that well, and she had a fascinating interaction with Jesus. Through this conversation Jesus crossed racial and gender lines to show the generosity of his message. (See John Chapter 4)
  3. The Apostle Paul was very strategic in his approach to sharing the message of First-Century Christianity. He went to cities where he’d fine cosmopolitan concentrations of people. He went to religious cites, synagogues or areas deemed sacred, and in those places, to people who were already religious seekers, he made his pitch. Through this strategy he spread the humanizing, compassion-inducing Christian faith throughout the Roman Empire (See Acts Chapters 14-19)

Four Factors:  Each of the following were evidenced in the ancient art of networking.

  1. Intention: there was a purpose behind each effort.
  2. Focus: based on the purpose, a networking target or focus was selected.
  3. Action: each person acted in pursuit of the desired new connections. There was nothing passive about any of the above figures.
  4. Connection and Celebration: the sought after connections were made and in every case celebration and joy were the result.

Next Time

Next time you year someone suggest you should work on your network or you see a post on the techniques of networking realize this: the practice is nothing new!  Some of us might even suggest it is a God-designed way of making progress.

As the Director of Marketplace Engagement for The New York City Leadership Center, Dr. Chip Roper is building a bridge across the vocational divide, the disconnect many people live between their Sunday faith and their Monday reality.