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How To Be a Good Friend to Your Pastor

good friend

Being a pastor is a much more difficult job than most people realize. It’s also a lot lonelier than most know. Most pastors could use a couple of good friends. 

Sadly, many pastors do not believe that they can have true friendships with people in their congregation. It’s just too messy. But I think it’s something of a tragedy when someone cannot find true friendship in their own community of faith—even, and perhaps especially, when it’s a pastor. 

Nevertheless, there are some within a congregation who have a unique opportunity to serve their pastor by being a real friend. 

You might have proximity to your pastor for any number of reasons. Perhaps you have children who are similar in age. Maybe you attend the same small group. You may even just have shared interests, like golfing or following a professional sport closely. 

If that’s the case, you may begin to develop a personal friendship that goes beyond the relationship of a pastor and a person he leads. And that’s a good thing. But there are any number of dangers in such a relationship, and for your part, opportunities for you to unintentionally wound your pastor. 

Here are four things to keep in mind that will help you to be the kind of friend your pastor needs.

1. Don’t Expect Your Pastor To Be Perfect.

Too often, we put our pastors on pedestals. This can be especially true if your pastor is a gifted speaker and charming or dynamic leader

While we should expect our pastors to pursue a certain level of spiritual maturity and moral integrity as defined by the New Testament as being qualifying characteristics for their leadership, at the end of the day, we also need to remember: they are still just people. 

The more time you spend with a person, the more their shortcomings and character defects become apparent to you. And your pastor is no different. Look at him long enough, and you’ll be able to see the particular things that are wrong with him. 

Be that as it may, unless we’re talking about something that crosses a boundary into disqualifying behavior—or, God forbid, abuse—it is not helpful to shame your pastor or expect that he will act or respond in every situation with perfect or near-perfect solemnity. 

One of the greatest gifts a pastor can be given is the ability to feel seen, known, and loved, despite his flaws, sins, and imperfections. 

2. Don’t Expect Your Pastor To Be Pastor in Every Single Situation.

Being a pastor isn’t like other jobs. You don’t clock out at 5pm.