Ministry Inquiry Reflection

Rose Jantzi, 2nd year, Elementary Education major

The concept of doing the Ministry Inquiry Program at camp is a new one which I am thankful to have been the guinea pig. As I focused this summer on ministry at Highland Retreat of the Mennonite Church, I was challenged to dig into God’s word, practice servant leadership, and learn more about camp ministry.

Carmen Schrock Hurst, Dean Williams (the director at Highland Retreat) and I worked together to create a role for the summer that included job descriptions from the head counselor, camp chaplain and worship coordinator positions. The combing of three jobs gave me the opportunity to mentor staff, organize worship and share the word of God with campers. On a typical day I would be busy leading Bible studies, spending one on one time with female counseling staff, organizing Fireside worship, and helping campers who needed individual attention.

Rose in Action

  • MIP RoseRose Jantzi works with campers.(Photo courtesy Daily News-Record)

Each of these aspects of my role opened my eyes to ministry in new ways. In my worship coordinating role I experience the highs and lows of organizing worship. I came up against the difficulties of planning when multiple opinions are involved. It can be challenging to keep an open heart when listening to all the voices and opinions within the community. While organizing worship, I also experienced the gratification that comes from planning a spirit filled night of worship. Practicing the Bible memory verse, singing camp songs, and listening to the Fireside speaker all added to the worship experience at camp this summer. I always loved to look around the fire and see the expressions of joy and deep commitment as the campers engaged in worship.

In my head counselor and camp chaplain positions I was given the opportunity to work on a ministerial level with staff at Highland. By not being assigned to a cabin, I had the unique position to observe the dynamics of the staff as well as their emotional and spiritual well being. Through Bible studies and one on one talks with female staff, struggles from home and work at camp came into the conversation. I felt blessed to be able to support the staff on a spiritual level as they were stretched by the demands of camp life.

One of my favorite activities under my chaplain position was the daily Bible study I led with female staff. Each day our study challenged us all to participate in servant leadership not only in the camp setting but in life. Together we read and probed the scriptures, applying God’s word to our present lives. I was challenged by this Bible study to continue reading the Bible both individually and in the community context. New and challenging perspectives of the Bible can be shared that one individual would not have been able to come up with on their own.

As Christians we are challenged to continue growing in our faith on a daily basis. Having the opportunity to experience ministry in the camp setting exemplified that challenge for me in a variety of ways. During my Ministry Inquiry experience I learned that I am lost in ministry without the greater cloud of witnesses of the church. The camp setting gives young adults the opportunity to try a variety of leadership experiences. By being thrown into leadership roles, I was forced to rely on other leaders in ministry to find my way through the process. While working in leadership at Highland, it became apparent to me that without the whole body of Christ, we are missing valuable pieces in ministry. Without the wisdom of elders or the enthusiasm of young adults, our ministry is not complete.

By being a part of the Ministry Inquiry Program, one can not help but learn more about themselves in the process. I am not going to say that this experience was easy or always life giving. It was a stretching experience where God challenged me to continue giving of myself when there was nothing left to give. It was a broken experience when I reached the end of the summer and found myself cracked and bruised. But through the pain and loss I was able to find God. Through the cracks that formed along the way, Christ’s light was able to shine through and minster. I learned this summer that I was called to Highland Retreat to serve as what Henry Nouwen calls a “wounded healer”. That through my imperfections and emptiness Christ had a greater opportunity to shine.

As I enter my Junior year at Eastern Mennonite University, I start classes with new lenses of my purpose in college. I have been called to fully embrace my obedience to God. Out of my walk with Him I will experience hardship, doubts and fear. But thanks be to God, I have been blessed with a community of faith that will also be questioning where they are called to minister. It is too soon to know if I am called to ministry in a pastoral role. But it is not too soon for me to be living a faithful life of ministry in the brokenness of this world.