May I speak to Pastors and Cell Leaders for a moment? Have you ever asked the question â€œIs it okay for me to have friends inside the church, or should they be from outside my congregation?â€ I mean, have you wondered if it is possible to have â€œcommunityâ€ like the Godhead, or a Peter, James and John circle of confidence and friendship, while being the leader?
H.B. London, Jr., in his Pastor-to-Pastor ministry with Focus on the Family has reported,
â€œAs we talk with thousands of pastors each year, we find that 70% of all pastors have no real close friend in which to confide (whether inside or outside the church). This is a tragedy. Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 describes to us the importance of having friendships in life so we can vent or join together in a project or lift each other up when we fall or enjoy recreation together. The key word we hear from pastors is “isolation”.â€
Translation: 7 out of 10 pastoral leaders (and I include Cell leaders here) do not have someone they consider a close friend. We constantly remind others to build community within the cell and evangelize by making friends outside the church (Jesus was a friend of sinners). Yet the research from candid conversations with honest leaders concludes that we are not accomplishing the results expected of those we lead. OUCH!
There is not a singular answer to the original question, but there are several factors to be considered:
- How vulnerable are you as a pastor, or cell leader?
- How used to having closed friends are you?
- What level of sharing is appropriate?
- What has been your experience concerning friendships thus far?
Jesus calls us â€œfriendsâ€; has He also given you others? Who are they, and do they know you want to experience community with them? If not, when will you express your desire for friendship to them?