Even Pastors Need Friends

Despite the dangers, one pastor has found that a few close friends are good for him… and the congregation.

Over the years I have heard many reasons why pastors should avoid the entanglements of friendship. Some say friends might be nice, but the time and energy demands of the ministry simply won't allow for such self-indulgence. Friendships in the congregation are certainly out of bounds, according to many, and even too much ministerial golf is a problem.

Though this has modified somewhat in recent years, both clergy and congregation can have difficulty with the pastor engaging in something so human as friendship. Congregations have been notorious for keeping pastors properly perched atop a pedestal, and many pastors like the view from that perch. They are reluctant to come down and enter relationships of vulnerability and intimacy.

And if the friendship happens to be with a church member, others in the congregation can become suspicious. Charges of favoritism and undue influence have been whispered in the halls of more than one church.

To be sure, not all these reasons are easily dismissed. Maintaining ...

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