Think of a match and a candle. They both burn with a similar flame, but where the match burns itself out, the candle lasts. The match may burn more strongly, but it cannot last.
Sometimes a person burning out may not seem to be in trouble – they may be productive and energetic – however they’re living on borrowed time. The crash, when it comes, can be sudden and irreversible.
This can happen in any walk of life, but there are particular challenges when it comes to campus ministry. It can be easy to get isolated, especially if there are 5-10 campuses in your region, you’re the only staff worker, and you’re away from home. And in a pioneering situation, or a smaller organisation, a supportive local team environment may be difficult to create, and there may not be supervisors or support staff on hand to walk closely with you.
In light of this we are introducing a ‘Personal 360˚ Care Plan’ to TAFES Tanzania. We want all staff to establish avenues of care for themselves even while we as an organisation aim to increase the level of care that we can guarantee.
The Care Plan covers six levels of care. Using the image of a fountain or stream, the idea is that God’s life-giving care flows through to us in multiple ways.
This document, especially the six levels, is adapted from the plan used by CMS Australia.* The main change we have made is to give added attention to developing relational networks. While maintaining attention to self-care, the TAFES version has more focus on identifying key people and relationships.
The first level, Master Care, is based on the idea is that Jesus is the Master Shepherd for each of us. It invites us to reflect on and pray through the following:
|I am trusting that:||Scripture:|
|He knows me best, and my life is in His hands.||Psalm 139|
|He is the God of compassion and mercy, slow to get angry, and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.||Psalm 86, 103, 145|
|He will finish the good work He started in me.||1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:9-14|
|He equips me to resist the powers of darkness.||Ephesians 6:10-18|
|He gives me good gifts so that I can serve others.||Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 1:4-9; 1 Peter 4:10-11; James 1:17|
We envisage monthly follow-up and coaching as staff set up their Care Plans, and the chance to review at our three annual staff camps.
CMS Australia – the sending organisation for Tamie and I – has established strong care processes over many years. They have an annual cycle of self-evaluation and pastoral conversation, and a longer cycle of planning and review. The CMS care plan sits in between these, and has grown from focusing on pastoral care (spiritual support) towards whole-of-life care. Tamie and I rave about it! What started as a ‘job requirement’ is something we have experienced as hugely beneficial.
If you’d like a copy of the TAFES Care Plan to adapt for yourself or your organisation, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The CMS pastoral care plan was originally described in this 2010 article by David Williams, ‘Pastoral Care of Missionaries: Turning Theory into Practice,’ for Evangelical Missions Quarterly.
Arthur Davis is an Aussie living in Tanzania, writing at meetjesusatuni.com.