ministry formations week 5

First hour: looking at boundaries in ministry. Here, we considered a helpful Venn diagram: your own boundaries as a carer, the boundaries of your environment, and the boundaries of the person you’re caring for. If more than one of those boundaries are compromised, it’s wise to reconsider your involvement in a particular situation.

To illustrate: the person we’re caring for might be in a bad way – perhaps that’s the point of the interaction, but you don’t interact with them in, say, a locked office. That’s asking for trouble. Nor should you interact with them when your own energy levels are low, or your struggling with something in particular. And if all three boundaries are compromised – well, this is why churches these days have codes of conduct.

Second hour: the Johari window as a tool for self-awareness. It’s a simple 2 × 2 grid:

known by me
known by others
known by me
hidden from others
hidden from me
known by others
unknown by me
unknown to others

A healthy person, we learned, is one who is increasing the top square in the grid: learning more about yourself, and sharing things with others. This doesn’t mean blanket sharing – shouting your failings and struggles from the rooftops – but is also a far cry from keeping everything a secret from others (and from never seeking to know yourself better).

We considered a couple of examples where people thought they were successfully hiding their bad moods from the group of people they were relating to, but in fact were not successful.

In the third hour, we returned to looking at part of a Henri Nouwen book, under the heading from success to ministry. Here we considered the divide between what people around us might call “success”, and what Jesus would consider important.

If you are chasing after the accolades of the crowd, you may find yourself neglecting the kind of unimpressive things that Jesus’ showed important by the way he lived his life.

We saw this illustrated in the famous “temptation of Christ” passage: Matthew 4:1-11. Jesus has the opportunity of being impressive, but turns it down in order to do the will of God.

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