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Summary: Learn some keys to continuing the connection factor in this practical message on fellowship.

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Connect the Dots

Keys to Continuing the Connection

11/12/03

I. Introduction

In a seminary Missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.

Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson’s astonishment, the engine roared to life. For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.

We have to understand that there’s power in connections. And if we fail to make connections, or if we have faulty connections, we’ll never experience the power in the way it was meant to be experienced. We’ll continue to go through life just pushing ourselves off or parking on a hill or leaving the engine going and running out of gas. Connections with people are important. In fact, they’re vital to the growth of our organization!

And tonight, we’re continuing to talk about this issue. Last week we talked about how to make a “friend” connection. And in review we mentioned that connections don’t just happen and that it’s our job to make the first move in introducing ourselves. We said that we must remember people’s names. We have to ask questions, we can’t just sit there and be silent and expect a connection to happen, and we can’t talk their ear off and expect a connection to happen. The key is in asking questions to open and deepen the conversation. And then we said that we have to be interested in the person and who they are. It’s not about interviewing the person to find out their hobbies and interests so we can check off the questions on our list. It’s about being genuinely interested and caring about someone. And then we have to find the common ground. What do I have in common with this person? How can I include him/her in what I enjoy or what our group is doing?

Tonight we’re going to dig a little bit deeper on this issue of connections and we’ll learn some keys to continuing the connection!

II. The Process of Connecting

In order for us to continue the connection, we first have to understand that getting connected is a process. After the first time we’ve met someone, we can’t automatically assume that we’re connected.

Imagine this: I walk into the Lodge, and notice a new face. So I politely walk up and introduce myself. What’s up, man! I’m Pastor Nate, what’s your name? “Joe.” So, Joe, how’d you hear about our youth group? “My cousin brought me.” Cool, so where do you go to school? “Greenbrier High.” How long have you had braces? “Two years.” Yeah, man, I used to have braces, I guess we got something in common, huh? See ya, Joe. Then I walk off because I’ve done my job, and now we’re connected, right? Not exactly.

So there’s more to making connections than just doing those first steps I talked about last week.

Connecting with people takes time. It’s not like an electrical cord that we can plug into an outlet and poof we’re connected. It’s not like plugging this speaker cable into this speaker and bam we’re connected. It’s not like having a cable modem and with the click of a mouse, wowsers we’re connected. It’s going to take some time.

Getting connected with people is more like connect the dots. We’re going to give you some dots to connect. And in this process you move from one number to the next, drawing lines from the first number to the next consecutive number. And this takes some time, but as you go through this process, you begin to see a picture taking shape, and before long, you may recognize what the picture is going to look like, and the next thing you know, you’ve connected all of the dots and you have a vision of the BIG picture.

And in connecting with people, you’ll go through this process of time and energy, and you’ll begin to see a picture taking shape of who this person is and why this person is here, and before long, you may recognize what this person is about and begin to understand his personality, and the next thing you know, you’ve formed a connection with this person, and you have a vision of the BIG picture of how your lives intertwine together for an overall purpose.

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