Symphonic Instruments of Your Peace, Part II

Our team over here is called “Bukal Life Care.” We do pastoral care, train chaplains and ministers (particularly in pastoral care, but other topics as well), do missionary member care, crisis care, and some missional outreach. Our goal has always been to work together (as a group) and with others in a positive way. Our name seeks to emphasize that. Our name “Bukal” is both a Tagalog term and a Tagalog acronym.Bukal Logo Small New

Balikatan      Working should-to-shoulder

Ugnayan       Networking

Kaagapay     Coming alongside

At                    And

Lingap           (providing) Care

The term itself, “Bukal” means “spring” as in an outflowing of water from the ground. The idea is that of being a source of help to those who need it.

How do to we work together?

1.  We have organizational unity. Those who are part of our group work together as one organization.

2.  Spiritual unity. Our group is made of volunteers. We decide what to do democratically and voluntarily.

3.  Networking. We have not always been so good at this, but we are trying to do a better job communicating with other groups to know what they are doing, letting them know what we are doing, and finding ways to learn from each other.

4.  Partnership. We have formal partnerships with the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) for our CPE program. We also have a formal partnership with Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary for areas of training and resource utilization. Less formally, we have agreements with local hospitals and jails for ministry work.

5.  Collaboration. During this latest disaster (Typhoon Yolanda) we have sought to come along side other groups with our own expertise to help them in their work, and allowing them to help us in the common goal. We have worked with PASAR foundation, Vis-Con, PNA, PGCA,, and more. The idea is to have the same ultimate goal and find ways to bring it all together, coordinating specialties for the common good.

An advantage in collaboration is that we don’t have to be experts in everything. Rather, we can find areas that we can bring our own specialties together.

Obviously, we want symphony in ministry not cacophony. It is worth not doing it all alone. Rather, we need to discover our commonality of goals as a minister of Christ. Then we need to find out how and in what ways we can come together to achieve that.

Symphonic Instruments of Your Peace. Part I.

The term “symphony” etymologically means “sound with” or “make sound together.” The idea of together here implies more than making sound at the same time, but in such a way as to be producing a better sound as a collection than as individual sounds. Is this is not achieved one gets “cacophony” (bad or ill or evil sound). In the case of cacophony, sounds are together but the resultant collection is worse than the individual parts.

The so-called “Prayer of St. Francis” (almost certainly not from the mouth or pen of St. Francis) has the entreaty, “Make me an instrument of Your peace.” But if you take the analogy of an instrument being a musical instrument, the concern is whether having a number of such instruments are positive (synergistic) or negative (chaotic).

In ministry, it is great when we all are seeking to do God’s work. But do we work together (symphonically) or against each other (cacophonically… if that is a real word). Therre are different ways to do things ministerially.

1.  Organizational Unity. We all work together because we are all in the same hierarchy. If every minister/missionary served in the same hierarchy, there would certainly be greater unity and coordination. However, there would be a vision deficit. Limiting planning to a few would reduce vision, and such a reduction is unlikely to be overcome by the greater coordination.

2.  Spiritual Unity. Paul talks about us have a spiritual unity. That is, we share one Lord, one Baptism, and are baptized of one Spirit into one body. That is a comforting thing. However, sometimes that’s where the unity stops. Each do their own things… sometimes even in opposition to each other. This can certainly result in counterproductive ministry. Some seem to justify this from the standpoint that competition is beneficial. This may (or may not) be true in economic systems, but I pretty sure this is not true in ministry. The idea that “we are all in this alone” leads to inefficiencies and groups working against each other.

3.  Networking. Networking is where different groups share information and SOMETIMES work together on common things. This leads to greater coordination and a modest improvement of efficiency. Additionally, the openness to share information may lead to a reduction of competition. Still, in practice this is far from a symphony. More like a group sing-along.

4.  Partnership.  We work together as equal parties in specific areas, drawing the best from each other. This is better… but it has limitations. Partnerships are rather formal and limited.generally. If they were unlimited, then they would become organizational unities. This is not bad… just not always an option.

5.  Collaboration.  We all play our roles in achieving mutual goals. In this case,

What is best? It depends, I suppose. Even “spiritual unity” is good if people truly understand the implications before God of such unity. In the next post I will give a few examples from our side.