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Todd Bishop


I have had a verse of Scripture that has opened doors for me to have strategic relationships. It's found in Proverbs 18:16, it says, "Giving a gift can open doors; it gives access to important people!" Yes, you read that right. One of the simplest ways to cultivate strategic relationships is by giving gifts.

Are you recommending buying relationships? Absolutely not, but what I am suggesting is that gifts open doors. That's not what I said. It's what the Bible teaches.

I remember years ago speaking with my friend, Mark Batterson, NY Times Bestselling Author. I asked him how to make connections with other influential leaders. I will never forget what Mark said. "Todd, don't invite people to speak at an event, make it an experience. You live near Manhattan. Use it." Dang, that was the beginning of me revamping my approach to making strategic relationships. I use the city to bring people - visit Times Square, check out a Broadway Show, eat at Carnegie Deli (that's for Mark!), or take a stroll in Central Park. I leveraged that advice and built several incredible relationships over the years.

"Giving a gift opens doors." In other words, doing something for someone else with no strings attached can bring you into strategic relationships. So, who have you given a gift to lately?

My wife and I were invited to sit with one of the most influential pastors in America in his home with 20 other couples. I called my Pastor, David Crank, and asked him, "Pastor, how can I set myself apart from everybody else?" His response was simple, "Be yourself and hand him $xxxx in cash." I thought, "We have never done that before, but let's give it a try." So, we did. The next morning his assistant ran up to us and said Pastor would like to see you and he brought us to them. It created a deeper conversation and a strategic relationship.

Remember, giving a gift "gives access to important people." There are some that have no strategic relationships because they have not mastered this passage of Scripture. They stay in their small bubble of a few, instead of the larger scope of potential partners to help impact their ministry and community.

Several years ago I was introduced to Joel Osteen. I was pastor-struck (that's star-struck for preachers). It was an incredible honor. Over the last 13 years God has allowed that relationship to grow. One of the things Mary and I decided to do is sow seed into Pastor Joel's ministry. It was a step of faith, but 13 years later and we are still sowing seed. Each time Pastor Joel would do a Night of Hope in New York we would send him a gift - gift card to favorite restaurant, or even just a note saying "Thank you."

I always want to be the one leper that returns to say thank you. I don't want to take any moment or any relationship for granted - to the best of my ability.

Let me give you 4 reasons why strategic relationships are so important:

  1. Strategic relationships help you grow. The Bible declares, "Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety" (Proverbs 11:14). The more successful people you surround yourself with the more successful you will become because they will help you grow.

  2. Strategic relationships provide you support. This is critical to every pastor or leader. We cannot do life and leadership alone. We need the support of people around us. I love this verse in the Bible, "We should help others do what is right and build them up in the Lord" (Romans 15:2).

  3. Strategic relationships build collaboration. When you get close to the right people you begin to work together towards a common goal. It demonstrates real unity when you can lay aside your pride to collaborate. Strategic relationships are not about what you do for me or what I do for thee, but what we do for one another.

  4. Strategic relationships give access to resources. You cannot lead as an island with all the answers. There are other smarter, wiser people in my life than I am. To be honest, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I like being in the shed with the right tools. Because of all the relationships God has blessed me with around the world I have access to resources that help me build God's church in my community.

Strategic relationships will help you become better, faster. They will help you see potential hazards and pitfalls before they take place. They will help you become what God has called you to be. You will never be as smart by yourself as you are with the right people in your life.

Scripture declares, "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend" (Proverbs 27:17). Get some sharper people around your life.

Questions to process:

  • Who do you want to get to know?

  • Have you sent them a gift? Why not?


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Jun 04
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

So good !


Jun 04
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.


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