Networking at Funerals is Wrong, Unless . . .

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While driving through Casper, Wyoming, I saw this rather amusing sign about networking.  I had never considered the question of networking at funerals, but I certainly agree with the sentiment expressed in the sign.  You shouldn’t “network” at funerals.

Unless, that is, you understand what the Biblical essence of networking is.  If networking means trying to take advantage of people and making a business connection that serves your own selfish interests, then one could hardly think of anything more gauche than “funetworking.”  

On the other hand, the biblical concept of networking that I have explained in The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus  sees networking as the essential mechanism through which the Kingdom of God–God’s sovereign rule–spreads from person to person.  It involves the establishment of relationships through which you can serve the needs of others effectively and with love.

In his own relationship building and service to others, the Gospels clearly portray Jesus as showing up at weddings and funerals.  At the Wedding at Cana, he got pressed into service by his mother, converting water into wine and helping the happy couple avoid public embarrassment.    That service unquestionably built his network, though nothing untoward or selfish occurred.  Jesus showed up late for the funeral of Lazarus in John 11, and while others wailed and mourned and added to the stress of the family, Jesus served them by raising Lazarus from the dead.  He did the same at the funeral of a little girl in Matthew 9:23-26.  As a result,  “The news about this spread all over that part of the country” (GNB).  In Luke 7:12-16, Jesus ran into the funeral of a grown man and wound up raising him from the dead.  Consequently, “They all were filled with fear and praised God.  ‘A great prophet has appeared among us!’ they said; ‘God has come to save his people.'”

Why does anyone go to a funeral?  I attend them to offer my sincere respect, affection, and help for the family of the person who has died.  I usually see other friends there, and I offer and receive comfort from the renewal, and often, deepening of the relationship.  If you see an opportunity to help someone at a funeral, the question “What would Jesus do?” has an obvious answer.  He’d step in to help.

In the highest and best sense of the word “networking”–the Jesus Way of Networking–funerals turn out to offer an excellent opportunity for Kingdom Networking that seeks to serve others and express God’s rule in every situation.

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.  All rights reserved.  http://www.josephcastleberry.com;  joe@josephcastleberry.com

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus and Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s True Vision for Your Life . Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.

 

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TKN Video: Education, A Higher Calling

Here’s an interview that I did on the TBN Television Program, Education, A Higher Calling.

 

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.  All rights reserved.  http://www.josephcastleberry.com;  joe@josephcastleberry.com

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus and Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s True Vision for Your Life . Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.

2014, Another Year to Bell the Cat

A fable from medieval times tells of a council of mice that met to discuss their perennial problem: the cat. After a few moments of discussion, a brilliant young mouse proposed a new solution. If the mice could hang a bell around the cat’s neck, they could defeat its stealth and always know when it was stalking them. The younger mice celebrated the end of their problem until a wizened old mouse said, “Y’all have it all worked out, for sure, but how’re y’all gonna put the bell on him?” When neither an agent nor a method for belling the cat emerged, the old mouse said, “IT IS USELESS TO PROPOSE IMPOSSSIBLE REMEDIES.” But perhaps the ancient wisdom is wrong.  It is not always useless.

As always, the coming of a new year gives me pause to reflect upon resolutions I will adopt to attain greater holiness. As usual, I will pledge on New Year’s Eve to read the Bible, pray every day, lose 15 pounds, run a marathon, and neither see, hear, nor speak any evil in 2014. As the year unfolds, I’ll read the Bible faithfully and pray every day. I’ll lose weight and then put it back on in time to lose it again next year. I’ll probably even run another marathon. But I will certainly not attain perfect holiness this year.

So why bother planning an impossible remedy? If the perfect holiness that God has imputed to me in Christ cannot be actualized in practice, what good does it do to pledge and yearn and strive for a life of holiness?

In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said: “When a man is getting better he understands more and more clearly the evil that is still left in him. When a man is getting worse he understands his own badness less and less.” I saw this truth once while attempting to share my faith with a rather licentious man. In the course of the discussion I said, “I am far more concerned about the evil in me than the evil I see in others.” He pressed me to share details of the evil in me, only to assure me that such evils existed only in my perception. As a matter of fact, he believed in no objective evil or good in the world, seeing it all as a matter of personal perspective. The more I tried to eradicate the evil in me, the more I saw it as serious and real. The more the other man endulged himself, the less he believed it existed anywhere.

I do not want to live that way, unaware of the evil that constantly seeks to ambush me. So I strive to eradicate it. Even though I will not utterly defeat it during my life in the flesh, I want to identify it and call it out. We work at holiness because if we do not, sin will sneak up on us–not like a mere cat, but like a lion seeking to devour us.

Best wishes with your best resolutions this year!  (It’s never too late to make a few.)

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.  All rights reserved.  http://www.josephcastleberry.com;  joe@josephcastleberry.com

Dr. Joseph Castleberry is President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington.  He is the author of The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus and Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s True Vision for Your Life . Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.

 

TKN Audio: When Many Points Come Together

7-points 

7-Points in Florence, Alabama

When you reach out to someone to start a relationship, they must accept your offer for a connection to take hold.  Successful networking requires a two-way street.  The easiest and most delightful networking often happens when two parties reach out simultaneously.  Sometimes, even more people will get in on the act as multiple people decide that two people should meet.  A two-way street is great, but sometimes networking can come together like the intersection of several roads.  I fondly remember a place in my hometown, Florence, Alabama, where seven roads came together in one intersection.  When many roads meet in one place, you can expect a lot of options to come together!

Recently, a Seattle Christian radio station owned by Salem Communications, KGNW (820 AM) hosted a pastor’s luncheon and invited me to attend.  I had a great time at the event and met several of the people at the station. I met Stan Lander, Senior Marketing Consultant, and he worked with my assistant, Anne Kuchera to book me for two interviews with Doug Bursch, who hosts the Live from Seattle program during the all-important afternoon drive time slot (4:00-6:00 P.M.)  After those interviews, they also scheduled me for an interview on their Spanish-language sister station in.

I totally like everybody at the station!  Chuck Olmstead, the Director of Ministry Relations, is a real mensch! Stan Lander has become a genuine friend, along with his son, David.  Doug Bursch, the host of Live from Seattle, who graduated from Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, where I used to serve as Academic Dean, does a fantastic job as host of the program, and his producer, Nick Shishkowski, bends over backwards to make things easy.

I must not have done too badly as a guest on the show, so the station invited me to host the show while Doug took some vacation time.  My schedule would only let me accept one day. At the point where all the relationships converged, I got to host the show last Monday.  I fell in love with radio!

Here’s the audio from my program.  It focuses on the Faith at Work Movement in Seattle.  I hope you’ll enjoy it!

For more ideas about networking, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Order it in paperback or Kindle edition at http://www.amazon.com/The-Kingdom-Net-Learning-ebook/dp/B00EDO1F6M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376544126&sr=8-2&keywords=Joseph+Castleberry.

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.  joe@josephcastleberry.com

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.

The Jigsaw Network

Business man looks to finish puzzle

This morning I heard Sonny Vu, Founder of Misfit Wearables, speak at KIROS, a Christian Business Breakfast group that I regularly attend here in the Seattle area.  As I listened to him talk about the culture of their company (and about hiring people who fit the culture of a company called Misfit) I thought about how everyone really feels like a misfit, at least in some situations.  In the group that really counts for a lot of people, the so-called “inner ring” or “inner circle,” no one really feels they truly fit in.

I think this sense of not fitting in is based on our individuality.  The bright side of our creation as individuals is our uniqueness.  But our fallenness converts uniqueness into a burden.

Think of people as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  Each piece has its own angles and curves and indentations.  In a box of thousands of pieces, the maker has cut each one in such a way that it only fits into a few others.  But when each piece has found its mates and the whole puzzle comes together, a beautiful scene emerges.

When people focus on their uniqueness as individuals, either egotism or despair results.  The egotist considers himself special because of his particular angles and curves, while the desperate one regards herself as odd or a misfit because of her differences.  Both errors result when we regard ourselves only as individuals and not as pieces of a larger social picture.  The true meaning of our uniqueness only emerges when we find people whose uniqueness complements ours and hooks us into a coherent whole.  When my uniqueness connects to your uniqueness, something truly special occurs, and the more people we connect to, the more the meaning of it all grows.

Networking brings people together.  Great networking brings people together for the sake of a larger perspective.  The Holy Spirit’s networking enlarges the Kingdom of God and gives it meaning in the context of human relationship, love, and shared mission.

As a jigsaw puzzle works by combining thousands of odd pieces, the best workplace cultures, the most effective churches, the most functional societes result from the skilled collection and combination of willing misfits.  As a leader, you sometimes play the puzzler; sometimes you play the willing misfit.  Both roles are crucial to great networking.

For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Order it in paperback or Kindle edition at http://www.amazon.com/The-Kingdom-Net-Learning-ebook/dp/B00EDO1F6M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376544126&sr=8-2&keywords=Joseph+Castleberry.

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.  joe@josephcastleberry.com

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.

TKN Audio: The Meaning of Success Podcast

Recently, through my connection with  a brilliant social media marketer Alejandro Reyes, I had the pleasure of meeting Zeb Welborn.  Zeb has a well-subscribed podcast and agreed to interview me about The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  The podcast doesn’t usually touch on religious topics, but Zeb was a terrific host and interviewer.  I enjoyed talking to him and his audience about the reality of God and about why Jesus was a great networker and how He continues to work the Kingdom Net today.  I hope you’ll enjoy listening to the podcast here:

http://ec.libsyn.com/p/c/f/8/cf82062d7a158e90/Defining_Success_Podcast_-_Joseph_Castleberry.mp3?d13a76d516d9dec20c3d276ce028ed5089ab1ce3dae902ea1d01c08532d1c8552c13&c_id=6308007

For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Pre-order it in paperback or Kindle editions at http://www.amazon.com/The-Kingdom-Net-Learning-ebook/dp/B00EDO1F6M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376544126&sr=8-2&keywords=Joseph+Castleberry.

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.  joe@josephcastleberry.com

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.

Jesus Wrote the Book on Leadership

Last weekend I spoke for an important Hispanic church conference at Life Center Spanish Church in Tacoma.  The leaders there asked me to address the topics of The Leader’s Tasks”” and “The Leader’s Team.”  In preparing for the first topic, I instantly thought of the classic book, Leaders:  The Strategies for Taking Charge by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus.

Bennis & Nanus say leaders must employ four strategies to lead effectively: (1) Attention through Vision, (2) Meaning through Communication, (3) Trust through Positioning, and (4) The Deployment of Self (by which they essentially mean putting talented people to work in ways that allow them to fulfill themselves in service).  I decided to share these principles, but since I’m a preacher, I looked for a Biblical text upon which to anchor my comments.

As I looked at the launch of Jesus’ leadership in Matthew 4, I was amazed.  He began (4:17) by gaining people’s attention through a bold vision:  “The Kingdom of God is at hand!”  He then began to create meaning through social architecture as he called his disciples (4:18-19) and began to teach them about the Kingdom and their role in it as “fishers of men,” i.e. Kingdom Networkers.  Then he established trust and credibility for his organization through positioning as he networked “about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and … disease among the people (4:23).”  Finally, after doing these things, he “gave [the twelve] power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness … and diseases (10:1)”—i.e., to do the very same works he was doing.

Those who know nothing but their Bibles, as Matthew Arnold once famously said, do not even know their Bibles.  It is amazing how secular literature on leadership can call out principles that open our eyes to things in the Bible that we gloss right over in our daily reading.  It’s also wonderful to recognize that Jesus knew everything about leadership.  Though he never wrote a word that survived history,  we can find no better textbook on the topic than his open-book life.

For more, see The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus (My Healthy Church, 2013).  Pre-order it in paperback or Kindle editions at http://www.amazon.com/The-Kingdom-Net-Learning-ebook/dp/B00EDO1F6M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1376544126&sr=8-2&keywords=Joseph+Castleberry.

Copyright©2013 by Joseph L. Castleberry.  joe@josephcastleberry.com

Dr. Joseph Castleberry, President of Northwest University in Kirkland Washington, is the author of Your Deepest Dream:  Discovering God’s Vision for Your Life and The Kingdom Net:  Learning to Network Like Jesus.  Follow him on Twitter at @DrCastleberry and at http://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Castleberry.