A&E

The Art of Being a Chaplain: A reflection on how spiritually mentoring fellow students can become a work of art.

Art. A scary feat for some. It must be perfect and loved by all. It must be meaningful and deep. It must be bold. That is not how I see it. It is being vulnerable. It is being true to who you are. It is unfinished and always changing. It is perfectly imperfect. It is whatever you find beauty in. I find beauty in the Chaplain program.

As I sit here reflecting on my time as a Chaplain, I am overwhelmed by all the insecurities, fear, frustration, joy and most of all love. My time as a Chaplain had its ups and downs, but that never stopped me from being true to who I am. Art to some may seem rigid. I see it as a way to express my emotions, opinions, thoughts and beliefs in a more intimate way.

Chaplains have a small number of things we must do: decorate the building wide bulletin board and hall board, host a Grow Group every week, be a resource to the people in your building, and a few more that I won’t mention here.

In these things, each Chaplain has a chance to express who they are to their building. Take the bulletin boards for instance. Last year, the Hainer Chaplains building board was Lilo and Stitch themed to fit our verse for that year, Colossians 3:14.

We wanted to extend an open hand to those in the building by welcoming them into our ohana. The hall boards are a bit more unique to the Chaplain on that specific hall. On my hall, there was take what you need, proud mom fridge, push pin poetry, and a verse of the week.

I wanted the hall to get involved, and I felt these were the perfect segway to getting the hall to become a family. Girls would start posting encouraging notes on the fridge.

They would write poems out of random words. “Break for no one heal with direction,”“truly longing for pancakes” and “gather yourself my complex sister” were some of my favorites. This was a way for my hall to express themselves. The way I expressed myself was through Grow Group.

Grow Groups come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are intimate and small. Others are broad and large. Some are worshiped based. Others are discussion based. Some are Bible studies. Others are events. It is not a one size fits all kind of thing. Each Chaplain is different as well as each hall.

Planning and executing Grow Groups takes time as well as lots of prayer. Finding the right balance between what I felt called to say, what my hall wanted to get out of Grow Group and what is God telling me to say was an art form that I have still not perfected. However, that is what a work of art is: work. It is always changing.

That is what I love about the Chaplain program. There is no right or wrong way. It is art and no matter how someone decorates a board or runs a Grow Group or interacts on their hall it is just how God has planned it to be.

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