Tag Archives: Connections

Monday Morning Moment – When Connections Are Lost – a Rant, a Resolve, and a Request

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Here written is a cautionary tale…one with a happy ending to follow.

Across my professional and personal life, I’ve experienced a great wealth of teams, affinity groups, communities and networks. Real flesh-and-blood people gathered passionately around products or services. People who trusted and enjoyed each other, who used their influence to do good. People who expanded both their influence and ability to do good by holding doors open to others with like vision.

…and I got to be a part of all that. It was an incredible life…and I want it back.

This is not to say that my life is lacking. That’s the rub. Life is amazingly good right where I am…wait for it…but, (such a small word that screams discontent, right?). There is something that has faded, and it can for you as well, if you’re not aware and nurturing it. Don’t let it happen because it’s too valuable.

What I have discovered over the last year is that the wide-reaching, lively connections in my work and personal life have been lost…or, for sure, diminished. This is what I’m determined to correct.

You know that odd experience when you lose a phone conversation (either because of passing through a cell service dead zone or you hit the disconnect button). You or the other person continues talking for a bit not realizing the other person is not listening…has left the conversation (intentionally or not intentionally)…and once re-connected, if you’re able, you have to awkwardly figure out where you left off.

Lost connections are jarring because they interrupt a process of communicating, collaborating or cooperating together on something of value.

Human capital is when you are connected to different individuals who have the capacity and desire to do good together (in creating or innovating – a product or service). Social capital – that of teams, agencies, or other communities working together – is an even larger, richer commodity than individual human capital.

I wrote about social capital previously here.

Social capital is the willingness of people to help each other. It often replaces money which people would use to buy the same help. Most ways of measuring social capital have to do with trust – people who trust that favors and help will be available when they need it will favor and help others more. Social capital is a lot like real capital. The more money a person or a society has, the easier it is to do things and the better off people are.Simple English Wikipedia

Photo Credit: IResearchNet

Through a variety of circumstances in recent years, I have lost some social capital. Reflecting on this real situation has been very helpful and motivating for me personally.

Jon Acuff, in his book Do Over, talks about the importance of not burning bridges when we leave a job or affiliation. I’m a bridge-builder not burner, but bridges can break down, through neglect or vision change and resource realignment.

At times, the sheer force of too much change can cause connections to be lost. Repeated change can lead to chronic states of transition, and we, in those situations, can find ourselves floundering, not sure really what or whom we call team or community.

There’s the regret and the resolve.

After years of living in many countries and working in various roles, we seem settled here in Virginia, at least for now. Still, in the past few years, we have experienced many changes here in work and community affiliations. Change can be so exhausting. It can either galvanize relationships or cause trust to sag a bit…and tempt us to circle the wagons.

I’m resolved to find my way out of this…even at my “old age” and in my semi-retired status…In other words, I have the opportunity AND the resolve.

Just now I’m reading a somewhat dated but still fascinating book on social capital. Written by Tara Hunt it has a curious title: The Whuffie Factor: Using the Power of Social Networks to Build Your Business.

Photo Credit: Amazon

Hunt took that title from a commodity in Cory Doctorow‘s sci-fi novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. In Doctorow’s futuristic setting, “whuffie” was the currency and it was gained by being “nice, networked, and/or notable”. A little simplistic, but I do appreciate Hunt’s 5 principles of building social capital (this in the work world, but it can be applied in other situations as well):

  1. Stop talking and start listening.
  2. Become part of the community you serve and figure out who it is you are serving. [It isn’t everyone.]
  3. Be notable and create amazing experiences/remarkable products for your customers.
  4. Embrace the chaos. Don’t overplan. Learn to be agile. Recognize everyday magic.
  5. Find your higher purpose. Social capital only gains in value as you give it away. Figure out how you are going to give back to the community and do it…often.         – Tara HuntPhoto Credit: Pixabay

7 Ways to Increase Your Whuffie Factor – Tara Hunt – Fast Company

As I keep reflecting on re-building connections,  social capital is now a goal. It may look very different these days than before, but what’s most important is getting back in the game.

Jordan Harbinger, blogger and podcaster for a website called The Art of Charm, has issued a challenge that intrigues me. This social capital challenge is what I need right now. Photo Credit: Screen Shot – Art of Charm

The challenge itself is designed to take a month, and I’ve been sitting on it a month already. Reading books and articles on the topic and avoiding the first challenge – settling on a written goal of improving my social capital (and sharing it publicly).

Next time I write about social capital, it will be with the challenge ON! Here’s my request: it would be so helpful for me (and others) if you shared your experiences or thoughts in this area (via Comments below or in a private email). Don’t let the phrase social capital put you off. Remember it just means working/networking with groups toward something that benefits others. I’ve known the great value of that and want to figure out how to invest like that again.

Let’s shake up the world…for good…together. Game on!

Monday Morning Moment – Social Capital – An Invaluable Resource We Can Develop – and a Tool to Help – Deb Mills Writer

Deep Connections Like These Will Make You Very Influential – Ron Carucci

Social Capital Challenge – The Art of Charm

Jordan Harbinger – The Art of Charm – Twitter

Helping First-Time Guests Want to Come Back a Second Time – Church Assimilation and Connection Teams

Blog - Church Connection Team - bpnews.net Photo Credit: bpnews.net

Any one of us in church was once new to that church. Such an awkward place to be. I remember just this year walking into a church gathering for the first time. It seemed everyone else knew each other and there was a general sense of easy familiarity between people. Were we the only ones new? Of  course not!

Being new is not where any of us want to stay. Trying to find a church home or just “going” to church aren’t very deep relational experiences. They are first steps to being part of a church, but you definitely don’t want to stay in that new or transient place long…or the temptation is just to not go back, or not go often…definitely doesn’t reflect what it’s like to really be church.

This is why churches need to be intentional in welcoming and connecting first-time guests. We met Ken Bevel at a conference a couple of years ago, and he introduced that term “assimilation” to us. He is a retired Marine Captain, and actor in Kendrick Brothers’ films (Fireproof, Courageous), and pastor of assimilation at Sherwood Baptist Church. He talked with us a bit about his job of working with a team who is responsible for that first-time guest – from the parking lot to “pew” to “home group” (real connection with others in the church).Blog - Ken Bevel - COnnecting[Ken Bevel (r), Pastor for Assimilation & Events, Sherwood Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia – making the guy on the left feel welcome.]

When we gather as church, extending hospitality to each other is a service we want to extend to all who join us. We’re still new as part of our church community (Movement Church) and don’t really know who’s new or if it’s just that we haven’t met them. Movement Church has a connecting team and we benefitted from it. Our strategy now is to treat those we meet, entering the building or in the hall or grabbing coffee, as if they were first-time guests. Sometimes they are…and sometimes they’ve been a part of the community for much longer than us…it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we welcome one another…with generous grace and genuine interest.Blog - Connections & Assimilation - bpnews.netPhoto Credit: bpnews.net

Churches gather in all kinds of configurations – large and small, in homes and large buildings or public places. Blog - Connecting and AssimilatingBlog - Connecting & Assimilating - bpnew.netProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetPhoto Credit: House church pic is mine; other two bpnews.net

Whatever our church, we want to watch out for those first-time guests just as we honor those long-time faithful ones. What do they need? Who might they enjoy meeting there? How do we pray for them…follow-up with them?

Below are great resources to help the church set strategy to be intentional in our hospitality…to make first-time guests feel at home and want to come back a second time. Better still…to become part of who we are…a community who loves God and all those He places in our spaces.

12 Ways Churches “Welcome” Guests – Chuck Lawless

Six Simple Things a First-Guest Likes – Thom Rainer

Top Ten Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests – Thom Rainer

Ten MORE Ways Churches Drive Away First-Time Guests – Thom Rainer

Creating a Strong Assimilation System – Powerpoint – Stephen Gray

Connecting With One Another – A Step-by-Step Approach to Guest and New Member Assimilation – Thesis – Kevin Ray Milburn

Ten Church Strategies – The Assimilation Strategy

Marine Captain-Turned-Pastor “Courageous” – Ken Bevel – The “Courageous” Interview with Kam Williams

Sherwood Baptist Church