When it comes to lasting in the ministry there are some things only God can do like spiritual gifting and other things only we can do, like developing good close friendships. An ironic thing about the ministry is that even though it’s a people business it’s easy to become isolated. An alarming number of people in the ministry report that they are lonely. They don’t have any close friends to lean on when the going gets tough other than their spouses (if they’re married) but that’s not the same or usually enough to make a difference in overcoming the loneliness they’re experiencing.
Sadly, many who minister find it hard to develop friendships or to be team players. Some of this has to do with fear and insecurity. Some of it is pride and having to admit that they need others. Some of it has to do with the fact that they’ve allowed friendships to take a back seat to the work of the ministry. Developing and maintaining good friendships takes time and effort that they are not willing to give.
One of the main reasons I’ve lasted so long in the ministry is because I’ve had a lot of help from my friends. My network of good friends has been a vital lifeline and a major contributor to my staying power and happiness. God never intended for us to be islands unto ourselves. There’s something about life that requires us to walk through it with others, which is why friendships are so important. There’s a connection between good spiritual health and friendships. Good friends are good for you. Friends help us celebrate good times and provide support during bad times. They help us cope with trauma and crisis and help reduce stress. Friends help promote honesty and openness in our lives. They encourage us to change or avoid unhealthy lifestyle habits. Friends help us pray. And friends prevent loneliness and isolation, which are deadly ministry destroyers.
You can’t have enough friends…