You have probably heard that preacher’s struggle with loneliness. This should be shocking because a minister is mostly with people a lot. You walk into church and yes, there are always people wanting to talk with you. You calendar is full of events and meetings. Loneliness seems to be the last problem that a preacher has. Sometimes a preacher would do anything to be lonely. The problem is that all of these social engages does not automatically mean that the minister has deep relationships that are meaningful. So why is this. After some reflection on my life and the life of the preacher, here is why.
1. Guilt. Yes, guilt. You have a friend who does not come to church, and yes, it seems your number one job is to convert him. Unfortunately, sometimes ministers have friendships because of the job. You are to bring more people into the congregation, you are to be sharing the gospel with the lost. So there is this guilt that if you do not convert the friend, you look bad. You are investing time in someone and they still reject Jesus. This makes a friendship hard.
2. You are always the preacher. You have church friends, so you always feel on the job. You always feel that there are certain expectations on you, and yes people feel this way too, they might not admit it, but it is there. It takes a lot of time to have a real relationship with people.
3. All Your Interactions are Judged. He is friends with this group, he just hangs out with the teens, he is best friends with these people, wow, after a while it is hard to have a real friend, you are pressured to be friends with everyone, and people will get upset if a minister spends his time more with other people.
4. In or Out of the Church. You make friends with people and these people leave the church. First of all, you are hurt, they were suppose to be your friends, but you need them to help with the church that you preach for. You are scarred because of this, and now it is not personal for them, so they want to still be friends. Now you feel pulled, you like them, but you only have so much time, so do you continue the friendship or invest in people in the congregation? Hard stuff.
5. Friends Cannot Handle You. You have stress, they have stress, your stress affects them, and the minister cannot share his feelings about what is happening in his line of service.
It is not impossible for preachers to have deep and strong friendships, but there are dynamics to the relationships that must be overcome. But with time and trust, true friendships can be formed, and these are a must for a healthy minister to function well in a congregation.
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