When you know someone in a public leadership role like a pastor, it’s sometimes difficult on knowing how to be a best friend to them. Every pastor I know needs a best friend. Don’t we all?
Most likely the pastor has a best friend in a spouse. I hope so. I encourage it. My wife is that for me. My boys are also.
But I think there’s more. And more these days than ever.
And if “best” is too strong a word, pick your own word. Good. Close. Trusted. Every pastor needs a friend, besides a spouse—of the same gender—who knows them well and can encourage and challenge like no one else can.
Yet, in working with pastors as I do regularly, I would say more pastors live paranoid of who they can trust than have someone they would consider a close confidant. Some pastors believe not having one simply comes with the job. I’ve heard pastors say we can’t expect to have those type of relationships with people—that we are somehow, for some reason, “above that.”
That’s dangerous talk. And many pastors have failed buying that lie—or never inviting people into a closer circle of friendship.
I equally know some people who want to be that type friend to the pastor. And the pastor has either been hard to get to know or the person doesn’t know how to relate to them. I appreciate those who have a sincere desire to befriend the pastor—which is the purpose of this post.
I can’t speak for all pastors—but I can speak for myself, and, I believe, I can speak for many pastors due to my coaching ministry among them. I’ve learned you can have “best” friends in the church, but certainly, if necessary because of the church size, outside the church where one pastors.
If you want to be this kind of friend to a pastor, I need to warn you the pastor may be skeptical at first. Every pastor has been burned a time or two. If your heart, however, is to be a friend—even a best friend—to your pastor, here are some suggestions that have worked to endear my friends to me.
(I used the male pronoun for ease of writing, and because I’m speaking from experience, but this surely goes for all who are in ministry.)