Leaders can effectively communicate their mission with people from all walks of life by using several different methods of communication. One of the best ways I’ve found for communicating your message is through networking and building relationships.
I serve as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for Bridgeway Community Church in Columbia, Maryland. Bridgeway is a non-denominational, intentionally multicultural church that was started by Senior Pastor Dr. David Anderson more than twenty years ago. We have experienced tremendous growth during that time, now having more than 3,000 people from more than 50 nations attending Bridgeway’s services each week.
When I first joined Bridgeway’s staff, I spent little time on networking and building relationships outside of Bridgeway’s walls. Since I was still fairly new, I was only focused on building relationships with members of the church. Once I established financial controls and meaningful relationships within Bridgeway, I asked myself how I could help local businesses and community members give their gifts to the church? Could it be through networking and leveraging their gifts for God’s kingdom?
The time came for Bridgeway to secure funds to purchase the building we were holding our worship services in. The CPA firm that audits our financial records introduced us to a banker who could help finance the purchase. We met with the bank’s representative, gave him a tour of the facility, but we ended up deciding to go with another bank. However, the bank remained on my radar because I would often bump into their representatives at community networking events.
I often felt out of place at these events, questioning why I was there when I could be working on something more practical for the church. Since the church was still growing, the opportunity to potentially purchase another building came, so I met the banker over coffee. That simple cup of coffee opened the door for the church to refinance our loan, giving Bridgeway the capital and cash flow necessary to pay for our new youth warehouse.
I praise God for the people who He has placed in my path and that I was able to help them leverage their gifts for His kingdom work at Bridgeway. I was able to put myself in situations where God could work through me to ensure that the church received the best service and price available. Now, to put icing on the cake: that same banker who stayed on my radar calls Bridgeway his home church after his experience with us.
Leaders often face the challenges of choosing the best way to support the mission of the organization and communicate that mission effectively, while also keeping it fiscally responsible. On top of that, leaders are encouraged to attend many community, church, family and leisure events. I can only imagine how many events you need to attend and how many requests you receive to use church money to fund peoples’ special projects. I encourage you to ask one question before any event: How can I, as a leader in the local church, leverage this event to support our mission and communicate that mission effectively, while keeping the church fiscally responsible?