What is Ministry Support?
It is common practice in the 'people-helping' professions for practitioners to make themselves accountable to a trained and experienced colleague. Such a person is often known as a Supervisor or a Support person. Such a person will provide opportunities for:
A Ministry Supporter or Supervisor typically has worked in similar fields to the person they are supporting and will have taken time to be formally equipped for their support/supervisory role. They will often be senior in experience to those they work with in support.
A helpful way of viewing the place of supervision or support in ministry is to observe the distinctions noted in this diagram.
A Typical Support/Supervision Session
As with most other things, you will get out of having support (supervision) what you put into it. Many people use a notebook between sessions to jot down reminders of issues they would like to discuss in Support. The habit of reflecting on your ministry between sessions can be as helpful as the sessions themselves. Especially if doing so helps you to become more self aware about how you approach tasks, problems and people - a core component of good Support.
In time, if not from the outset, when you meet with your Supporter you should be able to express quite clearly what you would like to get out of the session and have a good idea of what you would like to talk about.
The norm is for a session of about one hour during which the Supporter actively listens and responds to the Supported's observations. The focus of each session will be the Supported's 'praxis' or ministry work.
Normally sessions will recur monthly to six weekly, depending on the arrangements made. There will usually be provision for an earlier meeting if an issue should arise that needs working through.
TAPES - a resource for ministry support/supervision assessment
Initiating Ministry Support
When initiating a Support arrangement it is useful to set aside the first session with your Supporter to discuss and decide what it is you would most like to get out of Support. Important issues to discuss might include: