I love reconnecting with old friends. Next week, I get to reconnect with old friends and new ones. I’m headed to the Conspire Conference at Willow Creek in Chicago. I love going to conferences, but not necessarily to learn new things. Oh yes, I do learn new things and get fresh perspective on things, but I love the connecting and networking. When I first started going to children’s ministry conferences it was a great time to meet new people and make new connections. More and more now, though, I’m finding that going to conferences is about reconnecting with friends that I’ve made and meeting, in person, new friends that I’ve connected with online.
This year, I get to reconnect with a friend of mine who I haven’t seen in almost three years. We had worked as CPs in Oregon in the same district doing camps and such together. I miss that time in Oregon. It’ll be neat to meet up again now that we are nearly at two opposite ends of the continent: me in Canada and him in Florida.
I also get to meet up with some newer friends from my current district of the CMA in Canada. It’s been neat meeting CPs here and connecting with them. It’s taken longer to do so because of how isolated Thunder Bay is from the rest of the world.
There are also a couple of other people whom I hope to connect with that I’ve met via blogs and email.
Networking, connecting, meeting other people (especially those in CM) is what I love to do. Part of it is because of me loving to be around people and meeting new people. The other part of it is because it is nice to have people who can understand what you do and why you do it. No one else understands CM leadership like other CM leaders. It is nice to have those people around you who you can turn to when things get discouraging or difficult. It’s also nice to have those people around you who you can call, IM or email when you encounter successes. I think, too many times, those of us in leadership isolate ourselves. Some of us, it is because you are more introverted. Some of us, it is because we get really busy. Some of us, it is because we are geographically isolated. Whatever the reason, we do need other leaders/peers we can lean on… specifically other CM leaders. A large part of the reason why I can continue pursuing this call on my life is because I have people with the same call on their life who I can turn to who understand the specifics of CM leadership. It has also been a privilege to be there for those other CM leaders who need an ear.
At some level, I think all of us yearn for some sort of community. I think, though, that it goes a little further than that… at least for me. It’s not that I just yearn for COMMUNITY, I yearn for communities. There are different types of community out there that I need at different times. Just as important as it is for us to realize that we are not an island unto oursleves, I think it is important for us to realize that no one community group can meet all of our needs. We need to be able to navigate through different types of community groups and receive different things from each group. Yes, we have a core community group that we spend most of our time with, but I think we become better people and more emotionally healthy and aware when we can be a part of multiple communities at different times.