i don’t entirely remember how but someone introduced me to the twitter feed of my friend joe causey’s pastor, pete wilson. from twitter i went to his blog which turned out to be a fun read because it has a great variety of depth, randomness, humor, and bragging about his family. this is a combination that i enjoy.
a couple of days ago wilson posted the following on his twitter feed:
Just read, "70 percent of pastors in the United States claim they have no friends." That breaks my heart.
— Pete Wilson (@pwilson) March 8, 2010
i’m not sure where he read this but i have unfortunately heard similar stats. on top of this pamela has also recently been a part of a discussion with a group of pastors’ wives concerning whether or not pastors and their spouses can be friends with church members. unfortunately the majority of the wives in that group believe that pastors and their spouses shouldn’t be friends with church members because they think that ministers and their spouses are supposed to maintain “professional distance” from their church members (just in case you are wondering both pam and i hold the opposite view). i know that wilson’s tweet and pam’s discussion are not about the exact same thing but i think the core issue is the same – many ministers don’t know how to have real relationships and therefore some live very lonely lives.
this kills me for two reasons:
- as a proud 30%er who can name lots of friends that i trust very deeply i hurt for the many ministers who for some reason equate being on mission with GOD with requiring loneliness. while, i do believe that GOD’s call sometimes will lead a believer into difficult situations, i can find very few instances in the bible where the GOD of love has called HIS followers into overwhelming loneliness. it’s just not HIS typical M.O.
- since i believe that the core of CHRISTianity is relational (relationship with GOD and others = 1a & 1b greatest commandments) i believe that we fail to disciple our people when we don’t live out and have good strong relationships. therefore, by not having any real friendships i think many ministers are actually failing as shepherds. it’s a sad irony but i believe that many ministers in the name of “professional distance” are actually failing to truly minister because they don’t have any friends.
i love my friends and i am so thankful for them. i am a better person, spouse, father, and minister because of many of my friends. they have taught me many amazing things and GOD continually uses them to encourage me to do the things HE wants. i hope and prayer that more of the 70%ers find such friends, both for themselves and for the churches they shepherd. please GOD send true friends to some of my fellow pastors and give those pastors the wisdom to hold tight to them.