A friend. A mentor. A spiritual guide. Christian Ministry Staff (CMS) play all these roles and more in the Methodist Schools. Here is a brief snapshot of life as a CMS. It was the second week of the new school year and also my second week as a CMS in Fairfield Methodist Secondary School, when a group of Secondary 1 girls came into the CMS office. They sat down and one by one began relating their stories. Stories of family struggles. Stories of tensions in friendships. Several of them mentioned they would cut themselves because they did not have the emotional capacity to cope with these challenges. They needed a listening ear. They needed a friend. Their teacher did not sympathise. Seeing the school counsellor sometimes carries a certain stigma. So, they turned to us. Through the year, as we provided a safe space to share their lives, and as we counselled and encouraged them, we were able to see them become emotionally stronger and more ready to face the challenges ahead of them. From tears to smiles, this is the privilege a CMS gets to see.
It was after a chapel in which I had taught about relationships, and a couple of boys came into the CMS office. They sat down and one of them started asking questions as to how to navigate boy-girl relationships; he had an interest in a girl in church and was wondering what he should do about it. What I had shared during chapel had piqued his interest and opened up a door of conversation. Over the course of the next hour or so, I did not so much tell him what he should or should not do, but guided him in weighing the issues at hand. In the end, it was he who decided on the next course of action. The next few times we talked, he would tell me how he followed up on the decision he had made after our conversation and how things progressed. From uncertainty to maturity, this is the privilege a CMS gets to see.
This year, I was posted to Anglo-Chinese Junior College. We had our Religious Emphasis Week outreach recently and at the end of the school day, a student approached me to ask about Christianity. She was open and seeking and over the next two hours, we dialogued on topics such as, “Does God exist and is there reason to believe He does?”, “Is the Bible without error?”, “Why Jesus?” and “What is the purpose of our existence?”. What was gratifying was several moments during our conversation, where her eyes lit up with understanding and she began to connect the dots. Subsequently, she was really excited to receive a bible to start reading it for herself. Though she may not have come to faith on that day, I have a strong conviction, it really is a matter of God’s timing when she does so. From seeking to faith, this is the privilege a CMS gets to see.
It is not easy. The hours are often long. Financially, you’re making a sacrifice. You aren’t often appreciated or recognised. But what a high call of God to be able to serve Him in this way. I’m glad I’m a CMS.