April 20, 2015

The More We Share...

I generally listen more than I speak. Not out of any noble impulse, but often out of fear of saying something stupid or of talking about myself too much. I have been known to sit silently while people speak for hours. But here is something I've learned in recent years: one of the easiest ways to become closer to people is to tell them things. Sharing a bit of yourself is a signal that you are present and open to other people and gives them a space to share a bit of themselves. 

I was thinking about this after attending the Episcopal Communicators Conference a couple of weeks ago. As an introvert, I generally approach conferences with a bit of trepidation, but this conference was very enjoyable. Just about everyone I met was warm and friendly and wanted to share their work and ideas.

At the conference I talked to people about their magazines and communication projects and some of the challenges they are facing. I mentioned that every article in Trinity News (and ECF Vital Practices!) is free to use. I love it when people want to share our work and I enjoy sharing other people’s work. I like learning about other writers and the stories other people are telling. 

Communication, especially in the church, is not a zero sum game. When I offer my ideas and advice about what works for me with humility and openness, I receive a lot more in return.

Social media teaches us this, as well. When you like someone’s Facebook post or repost a tweet, they are more likely to engage with you. Sharing is a signal that we want to engage and support each other. 

In other industries people may be competing against each other for customers and profits, but in the Episcopal Church the success of one church is a success for all churches. There’s no reason not to use each other’s ideas and share our best work.

In a sense, everything any church does is open-source. It’s for everyone to use and modify for their community. Not only do we grow the church this way, but we grow closer to each other. The more we share the more we have.

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