Isolation is the pastor’s enemy. And it’s the enemy to the pastor’s family.
Dark times, sometimes long and painful, are as regular to guy in the pew as they are to the guy in pulpit. The big difference is that the guy in the pew has real friends. The pastor typically doesn’t.
Should I Make Close Friends in My Congregation?
That’s a big question. If you tell Joe-shmo and Nancy-do-good that you and your wife are having a rough time in your marriage what is going to happen? Will they ask gospel questions and pray for you? Or will they announce on Facebook that you’re marriage is falling apart and form a search committee? You’d laugh at that suggestion but is it really that far from the truth?
You know what you want from your congregation. You want them to have real relationships with real people centered on the real gospel of the real Jesus. And you know it’s your job, pastor, to model it for them.
You can’t escape the fact that you need real relationships. It’s the actually doing it that is hard.
There is no doubt that mess and conflict will come. There is no doubt that people will fail you and that you will fail people.
But isn’t that what the gospel is for?
I’d love to hear from you. Is this crazy talk? An idealistic but unrealistic hope? If you’re a pastor who has made real friendships in your congregation how did you do it? If you’re someone who has developed a real friendship with your pastor, how did it develop? What advice would you give?