Connecting!

20 Jan

I thank my God every time I remember you.  Philippians 1:3

Today, I treated one of my colleagues to a long overdue lunch.  As we sat down she said:  “I am so glad that we are finally meeting up.  Sometimes ministry can be an isolating place.”  I thought to myself:  “Don’t I know it-sister?!

The question is how do we come into this state of isolation?  As clergy we are surrounded by people all the time–correct? There are services to plan. Programs to attend.  Paperwork to do.  Meetings to run. Service trips to go on.  Feelings to smooth over.  There are endless amounts of activities to engage in.  Even when were not in our offices, there are emails, text messages, phone calls, Facebook to keep us on our “to do” high.  We are always surrounded by people              If this is the case, how in the world can ministry be isolating?

Prior to becoming a college chaplain twelve years ago, I was given this piece of advice:  “Beware of The Lone Ranger syndrome.” Some of you may remember the TV show. I actually watched reruns of it when I was a child.  Yes, The Lone Ranger had Tonto. However, for the most part he rode alone.  Often as campus ministers the feeling is we can do it all on our own turns. Even though for the most part we have help in terms of staff and student volunteers.  Some of us get stuck on this consistent merry-go-round of activity.  This can be a very lonely and overwhelming place.  Instead of calling upon support from God, colleagues, and family, we go it alone until burnout takes place.  At this point we have to scrape ourselves of the floor and hopefully come to our senses.

This month God has me doing an interesting homework assignment called connecting.  I have been led to call colleagues, friends, and family to just chat for a few minutes.  At first, I complained to God that “I don’t have time to this.”  He insisted that I make time.

So what I have found?   Answer: the gift of renewal.  It has been nice to connect with friends- I have received encouragement and solid advice from many colleagues.  It has been nice to vent on occasion as well. I have even picked up a few programming ideas.  I have chatted with aunts, and cousins who in most cases are shocked to hear from me.  For the most part, I have found myself enjoying these chats and opened my calendar for more.

As ministers, we don’t have to be isolated.  How many of you have been putting off connecting with someone because busyness gets in the way?  May I suggest that you put down that to do list and make a connection? I promise you, the list will be there when you get back!  You may actually find out that there in blessing in the connecting!

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Rev. Katrina Jenkins is the Chaplain at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL.  She began her tenure there in June Prior to this, Rev. Jenkins was the Protestant Chaplain at Bentley University in Waltham, MA where she served for eleven years. She holds her MDiv for Andover Newton Theological School and a BS in Speech Communication from Syracuse University. When Rev. Katrina has spare time, she loves to read, volunteer, attend cultural events, listen to                                                       music, and give love to her cat Betty;

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One Response to “Connecting!”

  1. paul walley January 25, 2012 at 11:14 am #

    Marvelous! Thanks for sharing this, Katrina ~ and I hope you are
    thriving in your new ministry as you live into its challenges and joys.

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