MInistry can be a lonely calling. Despite being surrounded by people it is hard to make close friends. This ministry is hard on friendships. You end up working a lot. And, honestly, I must worry about motives. Why is this person wanting to spend time with me? What do they want from me? Money, influence, information? If they don’t get it, will they still be friends? I was warned by one of my mentors that people may appear to be my friends but later turn on me.
Boundaries are important to longevity in ministry. And when you keep firm boundaries, it can be hard to get close to people.
I talked about this today with one of my ministry partners. We talked about having people whom you could talk with in a safe place. Who understands, at least a little, what you are going through. This person needs to not be in your ministry. You need to keep the relationship dynamics separate.
Fortunately, I have some good friends with whom I can be open and transparent with. Steve and John meet with me on Friday mornings. It started with Steve and I over 20 years ago meeting to share life with each other. Over the years others have joined us for a season and gone away. John has been with us for 10+ years.
Steve has been a voice of reason and a mentor for me over all these years. Every major decision I have made in the last 20 years I have bounced off Steve. He was the first person to see me in the role of Pastor. We have been there for each other and our families all this time. I look forward to our Friday morning breakfasts. Now that I am in South Dakota and Steve and John are back in Missouri we meet electronically via a phone app. The discussions are just as deep and meaningful as ever.
I hope that wherever you are in life you have people in your life that will call you out on behaviors, who will comfort you through the challenging times, and will celebrate with you when you move across the country.
I love that God has put these two godly men in my life.