My ministry

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My ministry

I grew up as a shy and quiet only child, an introvert. Later in life, as a military musician, I learnt that with enough confidence, you can bluff your way out of difficult situations during performances. In my private sector experience, as I became somewhat of an expert in my field, I had new ideas in the industry that others were interested in. By making use of my band experience, I became a public speaker. I also had a mentor who helped me develop into a real consultant. Between presenting training, consulting and public speaking, I somehow became an extrovert. Myers-Briggs tests that I did in my twenties and again in my forties prove that: 20's - INFP, 40's - ENTP.

I am the guy who takes the time to learn the names of the security guards and cleaners in the building where I work. I make a point of greeting them and making small talk. In that way I validate their dignity, because the majority of my colleagues will treat them as faceless entities. As a Christian, I believe that that is my ministry in this world. I get to know people, show interest and love. Some call it networking.

There's a saying in the military that when you arrive at a new base, you make friends with a store man, a medic and a chef, and so you will be able to benefit from favours when a need arises. The same holds true in the IT world. The equivalents are: make friends with a network administrator, a database administrator and a security practitioner. But I take it a lot further. I get to know everyone that I can. At the last place where I worked, I counted 400 people that I could greet by their first name. And I try to have small, encouraging conversations with as many people as I can daily. That is what I do. Another strength I have is empathy. It helps so much when you try to imagine someone's circumstances and the reasons for their actions or behaviours. Empathy is the gateway to emotional intelligence. I have a knack for bringing hardened introverts out of their shells, even if for small moments.

During the pandemic lockdown, it all changed. We were confined to home. For me, it was with my wonderful wife and two children. We got along very well. But it is hard for the extroverts. At the moment the lockdown regulations are being scaled down, and things are starting to resemble normalcy in small ways, like the school-run traffic. But my work had decided that we can do without expensively-rented offices, save on toilet paper, coffee, printing paper and so on. The pandemic has hastened the implementation of work-from-home.

In my career one of the most attractive ideals was always to work remotely. Now that it has happened, I really miss the people at my work campus. My ministry is suffering. I still have not worked out how I am going to adjust. A good friend suggested that I should give random people in my contacts phone calls. My confidence is low at the moment, so I haven't done that. I recently realised that I had been suffering from a low-intensity depression during the lockdown. It was as if I was constantly waiting for something to change. I am normally a person who embraces change, but apparently not in this case. It is an on-going problem and I don't have a solution yet.

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