The Worst Ministry Advice I Ever Received

“Son,” the pastor whispered to me as he put his hand on my shoulder, “You need to listen up to what I’m about to tell you, because it will be the key to your ministry success.”

I leaned in, eager to hear this crucial insight.

“Don’t become friends with anyone in your congregation.”

This pastor was only a few years older than me, but he’d grown up in a pastor’s home. He was scarred from the abuse he’d seen his father suffer and from his own experiences in ministry.

To be fair, his advice did contain some bits of wisdom. There is a danger for leaders in allowing friendship to cloud judgment or show favoritism. If we’re not careful, we’ll allow ministry to either damage relationships or to keep us from necessary confrontations. I think he was genuinely trying to warn me about these pitfalls.

But is this detached view of leadership, espoused in many leadership models, a good one for the pastor? Is the risk of being hurt ...

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