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Trust Agents 5a: Agent Zero

Written by GregAtkinson

zero“No matter where they go, trust agents have a desire to connect good people together. We refer to this as being Agent Zero; being in the center of a network and being able to spread ideas.”

As one who is known as a networker and what Brogan and Smith call “Agent Zero”, this chapter was kind of freaky to read. It was almost as if they had been reading my mail. This description of what I do naturally was kind of weird to read about until I read where they said that “trust agents are naturals at finding other connector types in other groups. They are able to recognize individuals who like building networks of value and know how to reach out. ”

They went on to write that “trust agents who are connecting do this across almost all of their groups, constantly seeking ways to make their groups connect with each other.” I don’t why it is, but I love introducing a friend from one part of my life to a friend from another part of my life. I get a rush in seeing two people meet that I know would benefit from knowing one another.

The book goes on to say that helping someone and promoting good work (via one’s blog, social network or introducing people who might benefit from knowing each other) is a way that a trust agent becomes Agent Zero. This “sharing” and helping and promoting good puts you at the hub or center of a wide variety of networks.

Through both online and in person, there are steps toward becoming Agent Zero. I think the biggest key and something I live my life by is intentionality. You must take steps to let people know that you exist, let them see that you’re a good person to know (by being “entertaining, informative, and/or useful”) and then spread yourself across several groups – developing your recognition until you are considered an authority.

In the ministry world, this can be an intentional and strategic promotion of one’s education, experience, gifts/talents and skills to those you’re connected with in person and through social networks (especially Facebook and Twitter) for the purpose of edifying and instructing the saints. If you’re knowledgeable or gifted in a particular area and have a Kingdom mindset, you believe in the big “C” Church and want to share whatever you can to help others, as well as promote what someone else is doing that’s making an impact.

This whole concept resonates deeply with me because I hate a spirit of competition between churches. I believe we should all be helping one another and sharing ideas that people can use in their own community and ministry setting. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert, we as Church leaders, to some degree should seek to be an Agent Zero – connecting, sharing, encouraging and heralding positive happenings to our own God-given networks.


  1. Are you intentionally and strategically building a network that God can use for Kingdom purposes?
  2. When is the last time you introduced one person that you know to another person that you know because you knew in your heart that they needed to know one another and would benefit from a relationship?
  3. Do you know your strengths and areas that you can be a blessing to others in?
  4. Lastly, are you still teachable and believe that everyone you meet and get connected with has something special they can share with you and learn from?

For Greg Atkinson, a consultant working with Association of Related Churches (ARC), innovation in the Church has become a personal passion. Atkinson travels the country consulting with churches, teaching at conferences and writing about innovation, technology and social justice. Greg most recently served as the Director of Technical Arts at Bent Tree and before that as the Director of WorshipHouse Media, after having served as a worship pastor for 11 years.

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  • Greg, I really appreciate your passion for being an Agent Zero. It seems very natural to you, and I can imagine how your skills in networking can be useful for kingdom purposes.

    These things come much less naturally for me, but I do realize how I could be of help to others from my different groups by introducing them so that they can help each other.

  • Being an “agent zero” is something that I’m constantly working at. OCC hosts 14,000+ websites and so we are constantly trying to find ways to connect organizations that have similar interests or can learn from each other. We try to do that through this blog and our forums. We also try to do that by spotlighting people and organizations in our network that are doing things well. But it’s been a bit frustrating that so far we haven’t been able to create a real community among our members. So, we’ll keep working at it.

    Hopefully this group blog project will result in some new relationships that are beneficial to all the participants.

  • In the Real Life I have found myself in the path of the enthusiastic connector, who ‘makes’ connections in like a 3rd person shooter gamer armed with a shotgun. Connect – bang – move on. Hopefully that is the kind of Agent Zero that frequents the social networking sites. Like you say – connections should be intentional and strategic, and then after that they need to be nourished until they can can be left alone – otherwise you just get connections breaking up and floundering like a 3rd person shooter monster shot with a shotgun.

  • I also love connecting people from one part of my life to another. I just started doing it though. Networking that is. It’s actually super fun and I’ve gotten to meet a bunch of really cool people!

    And Phillip – you are an Agent Zero ninja! Seriously… you’ve got this chapter down. 🙂

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