Friday, February 22, 2008

Can a Pastor have close friends?

How do pastors make and keep good friends? There are a couple of different camps out there ... one says that close friends are vital to ministry; the other says that pastors and ministry leaders need to keep their distance and avoid making friends.

Here are some of the reasons it is challenging for pastors to maintain intimate friendships:
  • Some pastors move often from church to church making it hard to develop lasting close friendships.
  • Most lay-people will say that they understand you are a “real person,” but many really don’t believe that. As much as they think they look at you as normal people, they still generally have higher expectations for you.
  • Because people generally have higher expectations of pastors, it is easy for pastors to blow their expectations.
  • Most church members talk differently to pastors.
  • When a friend who is a church member leaves the church, it is very hard for pastors not to take it personally. This can cause a pastor to fear future intimacy with church members.
  • In my experience, losing friendships can be as hard (or much harder) on the spouses than the ministers.
  • People like to talk about ministers. Because people are watching so closely, we often crave privacy. Without knowing it, we can “wall people out.”
  • Church members can be mean.

Any of these ring true with you?

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