But upon corresponding with my friend about sharing a blog site with the previous Pastor, it got me contemplating how strange this profession is. Unless you are doing a new church start, you will always be following someone in the ministry. And most congregation members have numerous pastors to remember and compare you to. So, it is weird! It seems a little like being a new step mom to a serial marriager (I just made up that word); wanting the family members to like us, and knowing we must earn the love and respect by ourselves, one by one, creating new relationships.
Being newly called into a congregation is a challenge for everyone. Often new Pastors have found they accidentally triggered a response to something a previous pastor had done or said. Sometimes it is good, sometimes not so good. There is a phase for the newcomer to feel like they have to tread very carefully and at the same time there can be so much newness and joy in the honeymoon phase of a new call, it is tempting to run into what we think is a field, when it turns out to be a china closet.
And people will always have preferences as to how ministry will be done. Pastors want to create a special experience for everyone to feel the sacred, and grow into the faith continually. We who have been called into this ministry have been called because of who we are, and our integrity of being cannot always so easily be adapted for each individual congregant’s preferences. Our sincerest prayer is for our love to be accepted and to be loved and accepted for what we so want to offer the church, God and the world.
Pastors can bring their baggage from previous experiences as well. Some people may remind us of someone from a previous congregation, for good or for ill, and it can be hard to see the new congregant for who he or she truly is. These kind of relationships take time to become genuine and meaningful.
But the great thing about this whole experience is that the “serial marrier” is the body of Christ. And if we call look towards each other as beloved of Christ, if we all strive to love and accept each other as he would have us relate to each other, there is great hope for serving the community as he did. Jesus taught, and shared his observations about how we can live n community. The key is to reach beyond who we think we may be or who we think the other should be, and discover the newness of each day in Faith.
Soon Eastertide will be over. Pentecost is June 4th, and then we enter into the “Ordinary Time”. Here in Morehead the ordinary time seems to already be upon us as the University is on the summer schedule. They are relaxing days of contemplation and making our faith routine and strong. I am excited to see where we are in our relationships by the end of the ordinary time in November. My hope is that we will know each other more sincerely, accept each other honestly, share with each other what we see and what we need, and grow in being Christ’s hands on this earth. Peace Y’all!