September 25, 2023
We think relationships are an important aspect of education. That’s why we work with mentor teams, cohorts, and partner organizations. To help you get to know the people who are part of the Kairos community, we spotlight partners, faculty, alumni, students, staff, and board members from time to time. Today we are looking at one of our faculty.
Name: Rita Jenkins
Location: Houston, TX
Role within Kairos: Affiliate Professor, Faculty Mentor, Kairos Platform Coordinator, Executive Assistant
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting; Master of Divinity; Doctor of Ministry with Missional Leadership specialization
Teaching and Research Interests: How the 21st century Church can embrace the complexities of the second greatest commandment to model its role more fully as the “sent” people of God through practical theology focused on missional concepts and spiritual practices, using Jesus as its guide.
How to connect with Rita: firstname.lastname@example.org
We asked Rita a few questions to learn a bit more about her. Here’s what we discovered.
Why are you engaged in the work of theological education?
Theological education in some form, whether formal or informal, should be the goal of all believers of Jesus Christ. The constant quest to know God more intimately presents itself through this goal. I am caught up in the quest that intersects with theological education because as I learn more from my studies, I am driven to share with others. In the discourse of this sharing, I get to learn from others as they learn from me. None of us have a monopoly on this knowledge so as we walk together in learning, we get the opportunity to share and grow more Christlike. Is not this the work of discipleship; believers walking together on a journey that enhances them all to better and greater? The work of theological education affords me the opportunity for others’ iron to sharpen my iron, and vice versa. The great joy I have is to see God work in the lives of those I connect with as He also works in my life.
When you are teaching or working as a faculty mentor, what kinds of questions lead the way?
The initial questions that I ask are to determine what God is calling the students to do in His Kingdom and what is their perception of the calling. Knowing students’ calls informs me of what level of intensity of coursework I should challenge them. It allows me to discern suggestions for content to prepare them for a ministry context that could range from rural ministry to a mega-church ministry. All students should learn core information, but ministry contexts help dictate what additional training may be needed. Knowing students’ perceptions of their calling helps me identify character concerns that may need addressing during our journey together. For example, students who are overwhelmed with their calls are in the right posture to receive the best training and to acknowledge that their success is in God, not their intellect. Those who feel they are already confidently qualified need a character adjustment that will require mentor team input along with prayer. Questions about what assignments they are working on in their vocational contexts help me to see how they are incorporating their learning. Other questions may focus on prior learning and questions that lead students to solutions that enhance their problem-solving skills. The changes occurring in the Church require students to be equipped to navigate challenges with adaptive changes. Questions arising from this fact prompt students to seek the Holy Spirit, who can guide them to adaptive changes necessary for the circumstances. I am always interested in a student’s reflective thoughts about an assigned reading. I find that student engagement through reflection tells me a lot about how the student is learning and even applying the learning in his or her context. The added benefit is that the student is forced to interact and form opinions about what he or she is learning that develops spiritual muscle. My goal is not to give students the answers but to assist them to arrive at suitable answers.
What rhythms do you like to follow?
My rhythms are holistic and incorporate personal and spiritual wellbeing, of which there is a blurred line. I honor God by eating healthy, exercising (falling short at times), and engaging in mental acuity activities. Prayer is my mainstay that begins a discourse with God in the mornings and lasts throughout the day. I begin each day with a prayer of thanksgiving and confession, Scripture memorization from my Bible app, walking exercise or watering my outdoor plants, followed by a hot breakfast, while taking in the news of the day, which drives me to more prayer.
Weekly rhythms include celebration of the Lord’s Supper, focused study and worship time with God, gatherings with family and friends over a meal, and watching movies, while my quarterly rhythms focus on restoration and rejuvenation. I go on silent retreats, get much needed massages to relieve built-up tensions, travel time away from the routine, and other self-care activities. Other rhythms that I engage in are guided by the Holy Spirit: Lectio Divina, fasting, solitude and silence, etc.
When you are not teaching, mentoring, or engaged in some other aspect of your work with Kairos, where might we find you?
The most time-consuming activity that I am currently engaged in is the expansion of a new ministry – Moms Green Beret Prayer Unit. The ministry is a convergence of Christian mothers called as special forces to pray for the liberation of sons and daughters from the enemy’s influence and power, along with other concerns as assigned by God. The expansion phase includes providing one-on-one prayer to those who call in with their concerns, accepting prayer concerns through email, training other mothers who are interested in fighting against evil forces, and basic training in effective praying through conference and/or seminar settings. The prayer ministry is a 501(c)(3) corporation. Other activities include preparing to launch a missional ministry when released by God, that will address my research interests. Spending time with my family which includes a son, a daughter (and her husband), and 4-year-old twin granddaughters is my joy.
We asked Rita to send us a candid picture of life outside of the classroom. Here’s what she shared with us: