Grace and peace!
This past month, I have been preparing to offer premarital counseling to several engaged couples in our congregations. And in that training, I have been struck by the ways that being a new pastor and having a new pastor is kind of like being a newlywed. Everything is new and exciting. We are rushing to get to know each other better.
And that’s a really good start to a relationship. It’s a great time to work on building up the trust we will need as we move out of this “honeymoon” period. The skills that are important for a newly wed couple, assertiveness, conflict resolution, communication are all skills that we will need moving forward in our relationship together as well. When we are more familiar with each other. When our relationship is less “new and shiny,” but better equipped for support and teamwork.
One of the exercises recommended in my training for premarital counseling is making three wishes for the relationship. A wish list of things we hope will happen in the relationship. We are then encouraged to share those wishes and how those wishes would make us feel with one another. My first wish is that we will help each other to be on the lookout for the Holy Spirit moving among us. That we will help each other to notice what God is doing around us, and encourage each other to join in what God is up to. I think I would feel both encouraged and challenged. Encouraged to look for God’s action, and challenged to join in when I am surprised by God’s activity. My second wish is to continue to get to know you more. To hear more of your stories. To hear what God has done in your lives in the past and what you hope for the future. I already feel great joy when I hear your stories, and I feel excited to hear more of them. My third wish is that as we build our relationship, we are emboldened to share our stories with the larger community as well. That we will share our stories with our words and our hands in love for God’s children. I know how I feel to hear your stories, and I feel passionate that others need to see God’s love for them from you as well.
What do you wish for our church?