Recently, I had a conversation with someone who had just joined the Network. They had called with a couple of questions about how to access some of the Network resources. In the course of our conversation, they told me (a few different times) how excited they were to be a part of this community.
I was curious, so I pressed: “What are you excited about?” I asked, thinking maybe they were looking forward to the Extravaganza, or MartinsList, or something like that. Their answer kind of surprised me:
“I love that the Network gives so much stuff away!”
“Which stuff do you mean?”
“Well, kind of all of it. The journal, and the podcast…but also just the questions that get answered from other children’s and youth ministers in the Facebook group” they replied (with enthusiasm).
I told them that was great. But I also reminded them that the things they had mentioned were all free. You don’t actually have to pay for a membership in order to get them.
“I know!” they said. “That’s why I joined. Because I want that stuff to all still be given away for free.”
And I smiled.
This person reminded me of one of the core values, the basic ethic really, of the Network. We exist to support each other. We exist to help each other. We exist to have a safe place to ask, and to answer questions. And because we have such a wide range of people who are a part of this community, from volunteers who just started, to people who have been doing this work as a paid vocation for 35 years, there is no judgment…there is never judgment. There is only a desire to help each other.
I love this about our community.
And while it’s absolutely true that almost everything that comes out of the Network is available to everyone, it is also true that these things are available because there are people (around 1,200 as of today) who have chosen to join and support the work of the community.
And there are many, many more who, for whatever reason, have not yet chosen to join the Network, but are still just as much a part of this community.
Thanks to all of you for making this all possible. Thank you for your ministry. And thank you for your commitment to being a part of a community where we are able to “give things away;” from resources, to information, to advice and wisdom.
And if you would like to join, to become a part of the Network, and to help fuel the work that we do together, the rest of us all encourage you to do so. You can join quickly and easily by going to elcaymnet.org/mission.
By joining, you can help us to “give it away” to those who need it.
God’s peace friends,