Without an agreement, or covenant, to go deeper into another person’s interior world there could be conflict and confusion.
If this is not stated in a soul care relationship, deep pain cam result. I was in a relationship that I thought was a soul care one, and the other person had more of a social covenant in mind. I was hurt when the relationship didn’t turn out as I had thought, and a conversation could have helped this scenario.
Clearly stating a covenant starts the spiritual formation conversation on a foundation on God’s provision. The parties can journey down the path together embracing the spiritual intervention and holy tension, knowing that the ultimate goal is to get closer to God and His grace and not relying on each other’s ability to do better.
I enter so many conversations, unsure of how someone will react, what direction they will go, how they will respond or advise or sometimes, people just want to vent or complain without any intention of inner change. Discussing it beforehand allows the person to choose to enter it (they have to agree), and they are clear about what and why you are responding how you do.
It needs to be clear that this is going to be a different kind of conversation from the other three. Without that being stated and agreed to, conversations may fail to be celebrating the presence of God and be available for what He wants to do in the moment. Our human tendency is to stay above the waterline and avoid having to face Holy tension.
If both people are aware and agree it can progress better. Otherwise you end up guessing or one person may have a different goal than the other and there is frustration and different end results (or not).
It is an intentional agreement to enter into one another’s life – hence unless agreed upon the purpose, God’s providence and process – such “deep” conversation is not possible.
It is important to clearly state a covenant related to spiritual formation conversations so that both parties know what the goal is and both are moving in the same direction. If the goal is not understood by both parties, then you as a soul care giver might be moving towards a goal of life in Jesus, and the other party might be looking to find the good life on earth. When the covenant is clearly stated, then both parties understand where the conversation is headed towards.
It places the role of the Holy Spirit in his proper place to move in each individual, to go through the creation of groans and pains that would otherwise be hindered by the other boundaries associated to non covenantal relationships. It allows the power of Christ embedded in us to move toward a more Christlike heart and mind.
It is important to clearly state a/the covenant related to a spiritual formation conversation to be honest and upfront about the intent and purpose of the conversation. It allows both parties to be free from trying to please the other, avoid difficult topics and prepared to embrace the greater good and not just linger in the surface of problems or complaints.