Friendships in Ministry

My friend, Christi, requests my thoughts on friendships in ministry. Whew, that’s a tough one. At least it can be. Chris and I have spent nearly our entire marriage “in the ministry”. In the early years of our married life, we seemed to have more friends apart from each other. I had friends, he had friends and then we had couple friends. We spent a lot of time with these people. Enter children and everything changes. Christi, I understand the desire to want to hibernate. You guys are giving of yourselves daily and just need to have some time to veg out and not be “on”. But since you both miss the friendships that might have been there in different seasons of your marriage and ministry, I would say BE INTENTIONAL. Ask God to lead you to people with whom you can trust your heart. Being in ministry means that you are usually in the spotlight in some form or fashion. Many would like to get close to you because of your role and not who you are. When you find those people who love you and appreciate you for who you are, be intentional. Invite them over. And not just once. Make it a habit. Before you know it, you’ll become close confidants. We have some awesome neighbors in our new neighborhood. We spend quite a bit of time sittin’ on the back porch with these folks while we make encourage the kids to have relay races to tire them out before bed so that they can get the necessary exercise they need for the day. This is relaxing for us because we enjoy their company. There are also other friends that have been in our lives for years so we trust them. We trust them with our fears, concerns and hurts. Some of these friends were there before we were in the ministry. They knew us when… God blesses us with friendships on this earth. I am thankful to have so many. But I am thankful that they are different. I have certain friends that are great to laugh with, some that are great to empathize with and still others who are not intimidated to get in my face. Find trustworthy folks who will take holding your heart in their hands very seriously. Hope that helps, friend.

10 thoughts on “Friendships in Ministry”

  1. I know the difficulty sometimes in being in ministry and balancing out the friendships that are “work” and those that are a safe place. You’ll find both. But, I cannot imagine doing life without my covenant friends. We need each other – for accountability and support.

  2. i think one of the best parts of ministry are the relationships. we focus a lot on balance, being able to spend quality time with people as well as “hibernating” and enjoying just family time!

  3. I have a group of four close friends. Only ONE of them actually attends the church where my husband works. (And her husband is a pastor there too!) Friendship and ministry is complicated, so it has been nice to branch out of our congregation and create a layer of protection. Otherwise, I find myself clamming up unnecessarily, or worse, blabbing on and on about church business that I should keep to myself!

  4. “Many would like to get close to you because of your role and not who you are.”

    talk more about this, please, ma’am.

  5. I am not in ministry but that is great advice about friendship in any profession. I work for a very well known man in town. His daughter and I have become great friends and there are times that I have found people latching on to me for that connection. I can only imagine it being worse in ministry.

    “Find trustworthy folks who will take holding your heart in their hands very seriously.” I am blessed to have a few friends that meet this description.

  6. Cindy- you have such words of wisdom! I think the intentional part is the area I need to work on. I got “burned” by a friend and since then I am a little gun shy. I also, for some reason, expect people to invite me or pursue me rather than the other way around…strange huh? Since I first asked you about this, I have made great strides (well God has helped me trust in Him more I should say). THANKS!

  7. Great advice, Cindy. Oftentimes I allow my schedule to become so full that I realize I have not spent intentional time with the people who support and encourage me nor have I “hibernated” to rejuvenate.

  8. Cindy~~ Preach it..

    You are so speaking to my heart.

    I love being in the human drama of relationships, and of course after doing ministry all week long, I want to veg. But you know what?

    Some of the best ministry are at the coffee shops sharing a mocha with a friend.

    Some of the most rejuvenating therapy is sharing a plate of fish tacos with a friend.

    I could so go on.

  9. I have two questions. I’m not good with expressing my questions/feelings, so hopefully my questions are clear:

    1. Is this the reason why many people in the ministry only etablished friendships with those who serve in the ministry also? How does one differentiate when the people in the ministry are ‘caring’ and ‘loving’ you just because it’s their ministry rather than a more genuine interest in you as a person?

    2. Not directed at anybody…but, hypothetically if you’re a minister (of something…youth services, college group, etc..etc..), beyond just the organizational skills and experience, should love for people be one of the main requirement? Meaning, if you’re really a private person who may have issues with big crowd, or have fear of talking in public, should that person be given such position?

    Disclaimer: Not a slam on a put down on those in the ministry….this is more of a curiousity question.

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