September 19, 2012

10 Things About Friendship in Ministry

1. You're usually going to have to be the initiator. Other women will assume that you're too busy, that you have tons of friends, and that you aren't like everyone else. The fact that you'll have to be the initiator is just one of those things that comes with the ministry territory, but it doesn't have to be an excuse for self-pity.
2. You can have friends in your church, very good friends in fact, but you still must keep an openness to others. You don't have to be everyone's best friend, but you don't get to choose whom you love either.

3. You must plan ahead and get dates with friends on the calendar otherwise ministry events and needs will swallow up all your time and you will find yourself in lonely emotional places. Be good to yourself and your friends by making time for friendship.

4. Your husband probably has the best read on who your friends are. He sees how people affect you--who encourages you, who gives you life, and also who depletes you. Trust his discernment.

5. Tell your friends that they are your friends, that they aren't just church members to you.

6. Let your friends serve you. Tell them your struggles, ask them to pray for you, let them see you when you're questioning things or feeling unsure. Fight the urge to continue being the pastor's wife (i.e. have it together) with your friends.

7. There may be people in your church who pursue you for friendship who are not safe for you. This is complex and complicated in so many ways but do not hesitate to maintain appropriate boundaries. Take care, however, that you are honoring and loving those people.

8. Do not have a checklist for what your friends should be like (i.e. married, have children, go to your church, in ministry, etc.) because this only guarantees your isolation. Pursue relationships with people you click with. Period.

9. Apologize as needed.

10. Learn to talk to God and trust Him with the things you cannot share with your friends. You need friends, but you need God more.