During a recent speaking engagement where I focused on how you can grow your network of generous givers, a leader asked me: “Do you reach out to people who you are friends with? If so, how do you ask them to get involved or give generously to your vision?”
I can best answer this question by quoting a Grand Ole Opry country music star I once knew. He would say, “Wherever you are, there you are.”
Wherever you are, there you are.
You are who you are, and your projects are the things you are passionate about and called to accomplish. The reality is you only have so much time to invest in so many relationships, so where and with whom do you invest your time? Your family is part of your life. Your church is part of your life.
The dreams you believe in are part of who you are, and so are your friendships. That’s what growing relationships is all about – investing time and shepherding relationships well.
So, a true friend is someone who is interested in what you are working on. Why then, when we are working on advancing a ministry toward a vision and seeking generous giving do we shy away from sharing this with our friends?
A key to having an integrated vision is having an integrated life. You should boldly and authentically share your vision with each person you are connected to, even if that means prayerfully and carefully challenging them to consider giving.
What is going on in your life? What are you working on? Who are you spending time with? Each of us is allotted the same amount of time each week to invest in people around us. The crucial skill to develop is knowing how to steward these relationships.
Here are some tips on stewarding your personal relationships within the context of your vision:
1. Recognize that you don’t have the same kind of relationship with every person.
It is wise to say, “I have different kinds of relationships.” The things you are doing with certain groups of people are different. Some of these are oriented toward accomplishing big projects. Some are focused on working day to day as you move forward. Some of them may play a key role at a special moment for great big things in the vision of your ministry. Some of these may just be about encouraging and supporting each other.
2. You must follow through if you want to build a reputation of integrity.
If I ask a friend to give me advice on how to grow my network, and he suggests the names of some other people I should be connecting with, or he encourages me to connect with someone, his expectation is that I will follow through! He may even contact his other friend to let him to know he can expect my call. So you know what? I better give that person a call.
Ultimately, your closest friends should know that when they give you advice or help you make connections, you will eventually follow through and at least see it through to a conclusion.
3. Remember that God may have placed you in someone’s life to be a blessing to them, not just you.
It may be that you’re not getting much out of some of relationships with people, but you know that by God’s grace, you have been put in their lives for a reason. You’re investing in them. Being intentional means to think this through and be discerning about how God might use you in the relationship. When you are committed to stewarding relationships with people, there are endless possibilities and opportunities that can arise over the period of years as people grow, change, and go through different challenges or successes.
I challenge you to take time today to consider your vision and the relationships in your sphere of influence. Are you being true to yourself and openly sharing with others what you are working on, praying for, and asking people to give themselves or their resources to?
Deep down, you know the people in your circle of influence that need you to be true to God’s calling in your life. Make a short action list and take steps to steward those relationships well today!