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Students at commencement

Ministry in Context

Director's Word: Pacing Yourself for the Long Haul

What does it mean for you to refuel? How do you stay not only healthy and whole for one or two years of internship, but balanced for ten to twenty years? Many of our current CPL, CPE, or internship students are walking alongside a supervisor who has found a way to strike a balance. It won’t be perfect, but it will be a model. And we want you to see it, because we know that discovering this rhythm for your life will give you the greatest longevity and joy in serving in the church.

Personally, after seven or so years in the parish, I found myself in a pickle. I was so good at saying "yes" to everyone and everything that I nearly worked myself out of my job... literally! Pacing was not at the front of my mind. I was pretty sure that ministry was a marathon endeavor, but my practices looked a lot more like the 100 meter dash. Too many of those in a row, and even the fittest athlete will run out of steam.

So, the questions emerge. Are you taking that day off that you are given? Are you finding your voice in saying the occasional “no” that makes your “yes” that much stronger? What do boundaries look for you now that you are beyond knee-deep in your internship?

Some of you are discovering (or re-discovering!) that you lean in the direction of being extroverts or introverts in this new role. Understandably, ministry is very public. So, it is good to think about how you can recharge your batteries while also being fully present and available the many tasks at hand. On that topic, Karen Gieseke, our Contextual Learning Associate, will be utilizing some new material at our Spring cluster meeting gatherings (the theme of which is: "Everyone shines given the right lighting."). Learning the rhythms of ministry requires a listening ear and an ongoing attentiveness to the changing patterns of your needs in the midst of the rigor. As former Contextual Learning director and Bishop Rick Foss once said,

“Ministry is unique. Almost every job is described as a series of tasks with relationships embedded in them, but ministry is radically the opposite. It is relationships with a series of tasks embedded in them.”

Think about this statement the next time you are talking to parishioners about their work in the various sectors of society. You may notice this slight nuance to the unique call to public ministry.

As we tend to the health and well-being of all ministers, it is our desire to promote wholeness along with the greater church. Finding your balance through tools such as the Wellness Wheel is an important step in pacing yourself for the long and also an important aspect to enjoying the exhilarating road of ministry that lay ahead. Consider spending some time reflecting on your balance in ministry by clicking here. Hopefully, you will discover that the time you take to reflect on the rhythms of your life, will allow you, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to put your best foot forward.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,[a]and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of[b] the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrew 12:1-3)

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