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How to be your Pastor's Friend

4 rules for navigating this unique friendship.

Why is it that many of our pastors—the people we respect and admire most—lead lonely lives?

And why do many lay leaders feel frustrated in their attempts to build a friendship with their pastor?

On the one hand, there is a tendency in every congregation to canonize the pastor in a way that Catholics wisely reserve for those long dead. We don't often argue politics, complain about the schools, ask him (or her) to help fix our fence, or tell him our favorite jokes out of a misguided notion that these things (and our interest in them) are somehow beneath him.

On the other hand, in many congregations the pastor is also the designated target of criticism. If the sermon is too long or the hymns are too new, if the denomination is too liberal or there is not enough parking, the pastor takes the heat.

What's a friend?

We all recognize that our pastors need people who will accept them and enjoy them as they are, without either awe or arrogance—in short, friends. And most of us would like to be ...

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