Let’s Celebrate Church Networking
April 3, 2018
By David Campbell, DDS
Let's celebrate networking. As a young Christian, I yearned for a community of Christian professionals. The Lord had provided Christian fellowship within the dental school. We encouraged each other with prayers and took turns on mission endeavors. There was easy access to meeting times and meeting rooms. CMDA was active and supportive. Yet, this fellowship was sheltered from non-professional challenges. We all have different comfort zones with grace and tact, but here are a few observations that may benefit those who feel awkward in their transition out of the professional schools and begin their community practices.
As I graduated and returned to my home community to practice, it was different for healthcare professionals. There was a sense of space that many cherish. Too many dentists in the same community church can create a sense of comparison and competition. The needs around us, among those at our churches, create questions as people search for distinctions and feel the need to discern differences. Our practices can be a point of discussions and judgment. Some dentists have greater gifts of control over their practices and greater gifts of accomplishment to show or reveal during the discussions. Others are not as comfortable with their professional environment and may shy from those discussions. We must discipline ourselves to keep a healthy atmosphere of professional respect for all circumstances as we value others as greater than ourselves. The Lord treasures humility and modesty, even while the world values first impressions and bold mission statements. It's difficult to be modest, yet it's worthy of our effort. A safe way to stay true to this ethic is to communicate our faith in the profession. Speak of the amazing progress in materials and procedures that serve the needs of the public so well. Begin with this trust in all our colleagues. After all, this is such as great truth. We are blessed to have tremendous resources in training and materials. The advancements of the most common procedures are special, and few children will be dealing with the weakened dentition that prior generations endured from dentistry.
Is this dodging their pursuit of discernment? Clearly starting with this common framework of mutual respect when talking about our colleagues can help us maintain professional modesty. If there is a body of discerning information that you feel called to share, it should be shared in a framework of compliments. Start with mutual respect for all professional schools. We have a wonderful profession, and the educators have great ambitions in the preparation of their future colleagues. Where can there be discernment? Everyone makes these decisions for themselves. Prayer and concern for each colleague should join with prayer for our church family members who make inquiries. Some of our colleagues shun any professional conversations within a fellowship. This may be best for most. The intimacy of the fellowship should be considered. Courtyard church conversations are best kept highly vague and complimentary, while a more serious inquiry by phone or in smaller fellowships may leave room for some discerning information. Still always be respectful of our profession and colleagues.
Finally, I personally take great joy in avoiding fee discussions. There can be no benefit in sharing bargains or fee schedules in a social setting. All our services are undervalued and are worthy of community support far beyond the meager fees we request. There may be opportunity to give direction to charity or social services. These can be helpful for some in our congregations, but there is little benefit in comparing fees or discount plans. The people who are searching for these are not valuing professionalism. The Lord provides for our needs, yet our culture often yearns to pinch pennies instead of giving generously. Are we susceptible to these thoughts? Are we generous tippers and gracious to our auto mechanics? As I've aged, I've become more comfortable with stretching my hand than stretching the dollar.