Dear Saints of God at Ebenezer,
My family will attest that I have said this at the beginning of every family vacation since our sons were born – the best part of any journey is the beginning! It sure seems that way, at least. At the beginning of a new adventure the future is still a limitless horizon of possibilities, and the present is filled with joy and hopefulness. I’ve learned over the years to treasure those “beginnings”.
I feel that way about our new journey together as Pastor and congregation. I feel a tremendous sense of trust in the Spirit–filled process that brought us together. We have the resources and the resilience to do any number of faithful ministries – to bind our congregation together as a supportive and healing community of members, to share the gift of our unconditional word of grace with the community that surrounds us, to worship in a way that is fresh and yet faithful to our tradition, and to grow in our generous support of Christ’s ministry. The story hasn’t been written yet, but that’s the exciting part. You and I will figure that out together.
I want to say “thank–you” for the welcome you have given me. I have been sincerely overwhelmed by your many expressions of excitement and confidence for our future together. You have no idea just how much that energizes me! Please continue to pray for me as I find my way around, and for our ministry.
Throughout the fall there will be opportunities for us to begin talking and dreaming together. As we do that, I hope you will remember the three questions I asked on my first Sunday, and perhaps use them to guide and frame some of our first conversations:
- What makes you excited about our future?
- What is your best new idea about connecting with our community?
- What is the single most important thing you expect from this congregation’s leadership?
My family will also attest that what I say at the beginning of every family vacation is wrong. The beginning of the journey is special, but it’s never the best part. Every journey is filled with unexpected encounters, beautiful sights, breathtaking vistas, and life–changing experiences. And this much–appreciated “honeymoon” phase of our relationship will soon give way to what I’m really looking forward to – the time when our mutual trust and commitment allow us to speak candidly, act boldly, and disagree respectfully for the sake of this ministry.
Let’s get started!