I tried a form of speed dating in Atlanta a few weeks ago (please keep reading, it’s not exactly what you think). I checked the “available” list and filled out my “matchmaking” schedule ahead of time as required. The room was filled with 40 or 50 tables. Each session gave 15 minutes at a table – time to present your good qualities and hear about the other’s activities and plans – then move on to another table.
My first date was with the Corps of Engineers’ Mobile District (What? Surely, you didn’t think I was really speed dating!). We made introductions and a few seconds of small talk, then, jumped right in to the “date”. As the two representatives read our consulting engineering company’s capabilities statement, they quickly moved into the “it’s not you, but it’s me” speech – “sorry, we don’t purchase engineering services – they come through so and so.” But, they did regret the situation, and they committed to passing the information along to “so and so”. I thanked them for their time and help, and we pleasantly parted company.
The rest of the sessions throughout the day were a mixture of results. Some echoed the first one, some were moderately promising, and a few stood out as a good match worth pursuing.
The matchmaking sessions were part of a Small Business conference sponsored by the US Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps, other government agencies like Homeland Security, and large (read that huge) prime contractors were looking for small businesses to help them out. The small businesses, like us, were looking for work.
Our company, and especially me, are newcomers to this government contracting – so far, not really sure we want to get heavily involved. There are so many buzz words and acronyms it sounds like gibberish at times. Finding the right person or people to talk with for help isn’t an obvious process.
Surprisingly, the fifteen minute sessions were helpful. At each one, I learned more. The people on the other side of the table were knowledgeable and wanted to help. They simplified terms, asked and answered questions for clarification, and took me a little farther on the journey toward understanding.
If we’re “experienced” Christians we should keep those thoughts in mind. We can ramble off into buzzwords (Christianese as it’s sometimes called) and provide confusion instead of help to those coming along behind us. Instead, we need to make sure they know we’re willing and able to assist them, and take time (even fifteen minutes is good) and ask and answer questions for clarification. Our responsibility is to use those fifteen minutes, not for speed dating, but to take them a little farther on the journey toward understanding.
And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV