I write this post not to create heartache for pastors, but for just the opposite reason: to help pastors and laity work harder at growing and preserving friendships that facilitate faithfulness and ministry.
If we understand better why friendships falter, perhaps we can avoid the faltering.
- Some pastors have had professors, mentors and other pastors encourage them not to develop such friendships in the first place. “You’ll just get hurt if you get too close to church members,” they’ve heard. Frankly, I think that’s a sad—and unnecessary—approach to take.
- Some laypersons set unattainable expectations for their pastors. If the pastor can’t possibly live up to what the laity expects, he’ll always let them down—and friendships diminish in the fallout.
- Some leaders quickly lose trust in one another because of bad experiences in the past. It usually takes only one bad relationship between a pastor and a lay leader for both of them to be skeptical about any future relationships. That skepticism leads to a weak commitment to friendships.
- Pastors often move a lot. I trust that those moves are always under God’s direction, but even if so, frequent ministry moves hardly facilitate long-term friendships. Absence does not necessarily make the heart grow fonder when moves are the norm.
- Some church members mistreat a pastor’s family. Sometimes, they expect more out of the pastor’s family than they expect out of their own. In other cases, they openly criticize the pastor within hearing distance of the pastor’s family. From a pastor’s perspective, it’s tough to remain friends with people who hurt our loved ones.
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SOURCE: Charisma News