Social Networking Is A Must For Every Leader

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I have been employed as a full-time Pastor for over 26 years now. In the course of that quarter century I have attended hundreds of conferences and seminars. Many years ago, when I was first starting out, my Senior Pastor encouraged me to seek out and develop a personal relationship with someone in my field of ministry and ask them to mentor me. I have made that a leadership habit in my life and I am thankful for the handful of men who have taken the time over the years to pour into me. I have established a leadership axiom that I follow: You will only be able to soar as high as the people you surround yourself with. When I played tennis in high school my best friend was so good I could never beat him. My coach told me that the more I played him, the better player I would become. I don't think I ever did beat Scott, but he sure made me a much better tennis player than I ever could have become on my own. That became by far the most important leadership principle I ever learned.

The introduction of social networking has revolutionized the concept of networking with others in my field of expertise. Chances are that if you are a leader and you are reading this blog, you too are taking advantage of what the Internet has to offer you. There are still many leaders out there speaking out against the evils of social networking, claiming that it is just making us more disconnected and lazy. I would agree that it can, but I find that social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the Blogosphere are actually creating a greater depth of connectedness worldwide than we could have ever imagined. Let me share with you why I believe that every leader must embrace this technology.

The first reason is found in my opening paragraph. Social networking gets you personally connected to people who are much bigger, better and successful than you are. This is a wonderful thing. The level of expertise and experience that I am now being exposed to in a very direct way is priceless. I get great ideas from people who have been where I am and can show me how to go higher. Without Twitter I am limited to connecting with maybe two or three a year. The Internet has increased my exposure level to great leaders on an exponential level.

The second reason is because it expands your sphere of influence. God has given you insights, experiences and ideas that are unique to you and there are people out there that need to connect with what only you can offer. Facebook has allowed me to touch more people than I ever have before. I must say that this never, ever takes the place of face-to-face, hands-on leadership. This enhances that. Facebook allows me to keep in constant communication with those God has entrusted me to lead. I can encourage them and share with them what God is speaking to my heart about them all week without having to wait until Sunday. People can't possibly grasp the total depth of your heart in just the two hours you have with them on Sunday. Social networking increases your ability to lead and influence the people around you.

Finally, social networking prevents you from becoming isolated. I'm sure that sentence has more than a few people already typing their disagreement with me. Yes, the internet has led to more isolation by creating a false sense of reality for some, but let's not throw the baby out with the bath water. The danger comes when the Internet replaces real relationship rather than enhancing it. Social networking is a tool that, if used wisely, is powerful and useful. We would be crazy not to take advantage of such an incredible, God-given opportunity. I am amazed at how I have reconnected with friends from twenty or thirty years ago. I am humbled that there are actually real people out there that are interested in what I have to say! The more connected I become on Facebook, the more I am driven to become more connected with people in the real world. Some would disagree with me, but I really believe that the Internet can be credited with bringing people together and is making a positive impact in our world. Sure, there is a lot of evil it can create, but the same could be said about the telephone.

The choice for every leader is that we can either take advantage of the latest tools that are at our disposal, or we can reject them out of fear because a handful of people misuse them. Technology is a wonderful thing that we need to realize is a God-given gift. Like music, man has so perverted it to the point that it is leading countless millions astray by its influence. But my job as a Worship Pastor is to redeem that God-given gift back to Him so that it can be used for His glory to lead people to Him. The Internet and social networking also need redeeming. That's where leaders come in. It will make you a better leader in the process.

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