Pastors: 4 Reasons You Need a Friend
If you’re a pastor and you feel lonely, you’re not the only one. Loneliness can plague even the most productive pastor, especially after he got close to and got burned by the wrong confidant. When that happens, he may feel that alone is the only safe place to be.
I understand. In fact, I warned about that in last week’s post. But this week I want to share the other side. It is worth the risk of being hurt for the hope of being helped. Every pastor needs a friend who fits the following four descriptions.
1. You need a friend who allows you to be real without fear of being judged.
I am not a superhero (although I have a secret desire to be Spiderman, at least for a day). I need a friend who sees me and loves me as an everyday human being. Don’t misunderstand: I don’t need a place to sin, but I desperately need a place to be sincere. I think every pastor has the same need.
2. You need a friend who will listen to your leadership struggles without using them against you.
Sometimes it helps just to vent. Stuffing struggles leads to all kinds of physical and psychological disease. The right friend understands this and isn’t damaged by what he hears when you are blowing off steam.
Leadership is hard, and most pastors need a sounding board, someone safe who will listen as they describe the pain or the conflict.
3. You need a friend who lets you decompress without needing to “talk church.”
The friend you need doesn’t ask about attendance or offerings. He doesn’t press you for more details about the problem you shared last week. He laughs with you, talks about the kids or the team. He enjoys your company just for the sake of it.
I love the church. I’ve given my life for Christ and his church. I love to “talk church,” especially when it means strategizing about how to reach more people. But no one wants to think about his job every time he goes to a ball game or meets his buddy for a burger. Pastors are no different.
4. You need a friend to encourage you.
I’m not claiming ministry is harder than any other leadership position. But I am saying many people don’t understand how difficult ministry can be. I can’t forget something my friend LeRoy Lawson said: “Pastors are in the business of disappointing people for a living.”
If you’re a pastor, you understand this. You need to find someone else who understands it too. You need someone who will sit with you, give you a hug, remind you to stay the course, and encourage you to keep up the fight.
Your ministry may depend on this one factor: pastor, you need a friend.
Who is your friend who fits these four descriptions? Send him a link to this post and thank him for what he means to you.
Or do you realize you don’t have a friend like this? Think of someone else who needs this kind of friendship and decide on a first step for being that friend to him. In that relationship you’ll likely find the friend you need, too.