This past week I visited a friend on her death bed. I was in the room when she took her last breath. She loves Jesus so we are excited for her. At the same time the loss is difficult on us. The hospice nurse pulled me aside after my friend passed, and shared with me how rare it was for someone to die surrounded by so many friends and family. She said the vast majority of the time when someone passes there is one person. She then mentioned how many people die with no friends or family by their side. Sorry to be so heavy this early in the post, but I’m going somewhere with this. Stick with me.

72% of pastors do not have one close friend.

If your world fell a part at 2:00 AM who would you call? What if it was a situation that your family couldn’t help you out with? Do you have anyone that you can call if your world fell a part? Don’t wait until your world falls a part to try and find those people. At that point it’s too late.

Christians should be the very best at relationships, and yet in many cases we are not. As pastors we spend a lot of time trying to help people love Jesus, but how much time do we spend truly loving people? Not loving them as the pastor. Loving them because we are in relationship with them. It’s easy to ignore friendship, but it’s costly.

Great friendships are possible. It’s a little tricky for pastors because the friendship may not come from within our church. With just a little effort you can have healthy, life giving relationships. Here are three practical ways to have deep relationships in ministry.


1. Be intentional. Great friendships happen intentionally and not accidentally. If you want to have great friendships you have to schedule it. I know that seems horrible. I personally love for things to happen organically. I don’t like the thought of scheduling friendship. Here’s the truth of the matter, if we don’t schedule it then it will not happen. In the same way we need to schedule working out, rest, and family time if we want great friendships we must schedule it. Make a plan and stick to it. Don’t hope that great friendships will come. Once a month I meet with two friends for lunch. It’s by far the most fun thing I do. We laugh, eat, and always end up talking about real life stuff. It takes a lot of effort to organize our schedules, but it’s so worth it.
2. Do something you love with others. We bond over common interest. This is especially true with men. Men form relationships in the process of doing other things. Most guys formed their closest relationships on a sports team, with a club in high school, or going through a common experience like boot camp. Once we get married our friendships often become a part of history. Find something you love to do and schedule it with someone you like. I play racquetball twice a week with a great friend. Some times we barely talk. We play at 6:00 AM so we are both tired. Other times we barely play the game. It’s amazing how many great conversations have happened because we both showed up to play racquetball. It’s going to take some effort, but find something you love and do that thing with a friend regularly.
3. Be a great friend. If you want to have great friends you have to be a great friend. This takes a little…but just a little…effort. What if once a month you intentionally reached out to your friends? It’s crazy how much time goes by when we are not intentional. Don’t wait for the big days (birthdays, weddings, births, funerals) to spend time with a friend. If you want great friendship you must be the type of friend you want. That is, you cannot wait for others to take initiative. Be a great friend. Call someone, text someone just because, send a note of encouragement etc. Whatever you wish someone did for you do that thing. Watch what happens when you start becoming a great friend. You’ll find great friendship.

Ministry is too difficult to be done alone. For me personally I want to be rich in relationships. I’ll never be rich with money, but I can be lavish in relationships. It simply takes some effort.

It may not look like a typical friendship, but through ChurchBOOM we provide coaching for pastors. My life is better because of my coach. We started off with a very professional relationship, but it has since turned into a great friendship. Are you a part of ChurchBOOM? If so have you connected with a ministry coach?

Life is not meant to be lived alone. Your job is too difficult to not have some great friends. Like Moses we all need people to hold us up during difficult seasons.

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