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No, I'm Not Your Best Friend

There's a good reason pastors and associates don't feel like friends. It's more important than that.

As we drove home from the annual convention, Jim turned to me and said, "Pastor, you're my best friend."

I was stunned. I didn't know what to say, so I said nothing, keeping my eyes on the road ahead of me. I knew Jim wanted me to affirm him as "my best friend, too," but I couldn't. I was his pastor and his supervisor, but I wasn't sure I could be his best friend.

Or wanted to.

Jim was my first associate. He came straight out of seminary, bringing a wife and children. He came highly recommended and full of bright ideas. Calling an additional minister was an act of faith for our small congregation, but we were confident the investment would strengthen the ministry.

I had great expectations of Jim, but most were soon dashed. I never expected anyone to need so much attention and affirmation. I hadn't found a colleague; I had a new puppy.

Likeable and Destructive

At first Jim seemed to work well with others. He was jovial and good-natured. But it became apparent that he had some serious people-skill ...

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