THE FRIENDSHIP FACTOR

What about friendships with our congregation? I’ve heard it’s not good for pastors and pastors wives to get close to the people.

Not sure what anti-social person thought up this urban legend, but it’s been floating around since Martin Luther.

I mean, we KNOW people weren’t saying this back in Bible times, because LOOK at the Bible.

Do you know how many verses there are about friendship? Well, actually, I don’t either, but there are a lot of them. Proverbs is a complete “how-to” book on friendship – and look at how Christ Himself described His death.

Greater love has no one than this, that He lay down His life for His friends. (John 15:13).

Peter begins his letters Dear Friends and the Apostle Paul also writes to his dear friends. So, THEY weren’t worried about the friendship factor.

But somewhere along the line, no friends became a parsonage rule.

This is one of the good things about being the pastor’s wife – you  can be friends with EVERYONE in the church, whether it’s the four-year-old waiting at the top of the steps each Sunday and greeting you with a loud, “I love you,” or the sweet, ninety-year-old who crochets you a doily EVERY, SINGLE week.

As pastor’s wife,  you have the privilege of sharing in births, engagements, marriages, deaths and major moments in between – in a way that others don’t.  You’re included in family gatherings – the only outsiders. You’re the first to hear big news and you’re the first to hear sad news. Being part of those moments make the friendships be all that more enduring.

But some hold on to the idea that you can’t have friends in the church.

I remember some pastors telling Ken they had missed him at a recent pastors’ retreat. One of the pastors said, “We’re concerned you aren’t getting enough fellowship.”

Ken assured him he was getting a lot of fellowship with the people at his church.

“Oh, no!” They were stunned. “We mean fellowship with REAL MEN.”

Ken always laughed about that conversation (as did our church when he related it the next Sunday). But these other pastors couldn’t figure out how Ken could consider his friendships within the congregation REAL FELLOWSHIP with REAL MEN.

And pastors’ wives can have REAL FELLOWSHIP with REAL LADIES, too.

Seriously, look up the word friend in the Bible – you just might be surprised.

 

Tomorrow – how these friendships happen …

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