Soul care Specialists Back to blog list
Chaplains are professional carers, people who are there to support others in the everyday challenges of life. We engage with people where they are at, not where we would like them to be. It is real life, where loss and grief, disappointment and heartache are as present as joy and celebration. Chaplains have a unique place in our community. Where doctors care for the physical and psychologists care for the mind, we care for the soul.
Chaplaincy ministry requires a deep level of emotional, mental and spiritual engagement. Our desire is to give our best, and to be the hands and feet of Christ in our community potentially exposes us to risks which we need to be prepared for. There are skills we can learn to help us be better communicators and knowledge we can gain to help us better understand the human condition, but it is God’s love that enables us to walk with others into freedom.
“Whoever digs a pit may fall into it; whoever breaks through a wall may be bitten by a snake. Whoever quarries stones may be injured by them; whoever splits logs may be endangered by them. If the axe is dull and its edge unsharpened, more strength is needed, but skill will bring success.” – Ecclesiastes 10:8-10 (NIV)
On the face of it, Solomon’s words seem pretty self explanatory, and they are. Basically if you work with stones you have a higher chance of being hurt by them than someone who doesn’t. Cutting down trees is a risky business. Working with people in depression, illness, those who suffer from abuse, neglect or those who are under stress is risky. There is a risk that whenever we do anything involving people in need, we will be affected. One way or another we can’t help but be impacted by people’s lives. We are not immune to disappointments ourselves, and we can lose our edge if we are not intentional about maintaining it.
This year’s Chaplaincy New Zealand Conference was specifically aimed at sharpening our edge. We were challenged throughout in all areas with reference to the Four Pillars of Chaplaincy. Ps Pam Ryan taught us how to care for those who have lost hope, sharing powerfully from her own experiences. Hope is a spiritual concept, and loss of hope has a great effect on our wellbeing. Janet Curle shared her inspiring testimony that gave us a greater understanding of P addiction and people who are caught in the cycle of addiction. Knowing where to get resources and refer to for specialised help was so valuable. Sean du Toit shared his wonderful “Theology of Truth-Telling”, speaking to the very heart of chaplaincy and the power of genuineness to connect with people.
Ps Susan Marcuccio also inspired us all with her own journey, sharing authentically on the need for supervision, not simply to maintain our ministry effectiveness but also to grow it. The value of maintaining our integrity was a theme that was woven throughout the conference. We need to be content with who we are and be true to who God has called us to be, because he uses real people like you and me to connect with this world in a real way. And after all, Chaplaincy is all about connection, connecting people with Jesus.