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Unlikely Leadership Lessons from the Circus: 2 Key Ways to Make Introductions & Lasting Connections

Updated: Apr 19, 2023


An act that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The precision. The grace.

Knife throwing phenomenon..

Alex Cutter!

(and the crowd goes wild)

Kids do not try this at home.

Every act at the circus had a grand introduction complete with background music, bio, and spotlight on the talent they had. They were fun, engaging, and made you want to watch them perform!

Unlikely Lessons from the Circus is a series for this month’s blog. We’re talking about the power of introductions and subsequently making connections.

So in this vein, first let me re-introduce myself to you. I’m Charity: a pastor, mom (mob: mom of boys (2), sister, friend, who loves to host small gatherings at my house, preferably with BBQ or a fire pit. At my best I’m a person who integrates learning and strives to live and lead wholistically (head, heart, and hands).

You’ll find me most Sundays at one of the 3 The Gathering sites where I am on staff. While my Sunday duties vary, my weeks are spent connecting people to small groups as well as supporting leaders, coaches, and directors of our small group ministry, which we call Core Groups. I’ve been a solo, site, and associate pastor in existing congregations and one new church start...I’m an elder in the United Methodist Church.

Today I’m serving in my dream role as I’m supporting groups ministry in a church that places a high value on formation and discipelship through groups. I get to be apart of that! Before this I’ve been in churches that appreciated groups but mostly had adequate to subpar Sunday School. Even still I helped to create small groups in existing ministries. No easy feat, but worth it!

Bringing people together to read and discuss scripture in a non judgmental space, share their lives in an authentic way, pray, socialize, and serve is what I love most about church. On Friday, April 28, I am leading a free worskshop you’re invited to participate in called 90 Days to Launch Your Small Groups. You can sign up here.

Introductions matter! (and they don’t have to be as grandiose as those in the circus).

On Sunday mornings several people will huddle around to speak to me. I try my best to make the huddle a group by introducing everyone who’s standing around in some way. As a pastor - everyone knows my name - but I may or may not know them (it’s a large church and i travel among sites). Once I learn a name by saying -”remind me of your name,” I say that name again in my reply. “John Smith yes, thank you for sharing your name, John.” When others join the circle. I introduce John.

I do this for a few reasons 1. I want to remember John’s name and 2. I want the circles to be less about me and inclusive of all of us. On the best Sundays people will make a connection with someone else because of me.

With that being said, I keep notes on Folx to introduce/connect. It’s always meaningful when new people in particular make new connections at church (someone in the same industry, live in the same area of town, have a similar interest. I get to be a conduit to connect folks through in person and email introductions.

In Small Groups

As a group begins, introductions are just as important. It takes time to get to know folks and then guess what? People change! Using ice breakers to encourage introductions around certain topics such as introduce yourself like you would at a work function, at your high school reunion, at the grocery store etc… Just have fun with it.

Introducing ourselves is powerful for us. I recall the early days that I introduced myself after I had changed my name back (after divorce). It was empowering and scary. What we say about ourselves is what people will know about us. It’s a meaningful and connecting experience.


Action Brings Clarity

  1. Ask someone to remind you of their name. I know it feels embarrassing but the connection is what’s important. Ask, apologize if you feel like you should remember. And smile. Then repeat their name. If you need to, write it down in a place you can remember with notes about them.

  2. Who can you introduce to each other? Consider your network of friends, family, work - who needs to know each other? Whether it’s complimentary work they do or they have similarities- make the connection. Add value to someone’s life by bolstering their network and increasing your influence. Win- Win!

  3. Who can I introduce you to? Is there someone with whom you’re looking to connect that I can make the introduction? Shoot me an email at


Lord, help me be a connector. To see and hear the connections between people in my life I desire to be someone others appreciate because of the relationships I have with them and that I encourage through introductions. Everything is relationship. God, you are relationship. May we remember to uphold our current and future relationships with grace, intentionality and joy. Amen.


© Charity Goodwin, 2023.



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