You Are Not an Island: The Value of Networking With Fellow Family Life Ministers
Picture an island in the middle of the ocean. The words that come to mind when you think of an island may be: disconnected, isolated, lonely, independent. While these are accurate, we must also realize that islands are higher elevations of land that are still connected to the continents, but those connections are covered by water.
This analogy helps us to think about ourselves as Family Life/Marriage ministers. Many times, we think we are alone, disconnected, isolated, lonely, and independent, but we are not. There are many connections out there that we may not see, but they are truly there to help us in our ministry.
Changing Your Mindset
First, we must think about ministry as relational. Ministry is not something we do alone. The document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, tells us:
“Ministry is diverse and, at the same time, profoundly relational. This is so because ministry has its source in the triune God and because it takes shape within the Church understood as a communion. Ministerial relationships are grounded first in what all members of Christ’s Body have in common.”
Enabling Your Growth
Second, we must look at the benefits we obtain when we connect, network, and collaborate with other Family Life/Marriage Ministry minsters both locally and around the country:
- Best practices: One thing that is common in ministry is that we share our joys! We share what works, our successes. When we network with other ministers, we learn what has worked for them, and we can implement those best practices into our own areas of ministry.
- New resources: There may be a new book, a new video, a new program that other Family Life/Marriage Ministers are using that you didn’t know about. Networking gives you access to new resources that may be very effective for your ministry.
- Get free advice: When you are not sure if a technique/resource/decision is effective, you can consult with your peers and ask for advice. This is completely free! You have access to other people’s experiences and points of view that can only enrich your own perspective.
- Prayer partners: People who are in the same ministry position, but in other areas of your diocese, understand what you are going through, and they are your best supporters. Create your own prayer network! Find a few colleagues with whom you feel comfortable and establish the practice of praying for one another. Share prayer intentions and lift each other up in prayer!
Positioning Yourself for Success
All this to say, you are not expected to go through this responsibility of being a diocesan or a parish Family Life/Marriage Ministry minister alone. You have great people around you! Get in touch with them. Talk to them often. Visit each other if you live close by. Get together for coffee and for informal conversations.
All this will only make your ministerial experience even more successful.
Lastly, remember that we at The Marriage Group are also here to network and collaborate with you. We are your partners in ministry, and all of us would be more than happy to chat with you and share our experiences in ministry.
We wish you all the success in the world!