I am mid-way through a month-long study leave in Cambridge, England, where I am doing research at Tyndale House as I work on a book. I’ve enjoyed meeting scholars and graduate students from many nations at this evangelical study center. Meanwhile I’ve been staying at Ridley Hall, a college for Anglican ministers, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know future Anglican clergy, as well as pastors there on sabbatical or retreat stays.
This morning, I visited with a veteran pastor—31 years in ministry, 27 years in his current church—who is on retreat. He’s a few years from retirement, and he talked about the struggles of ministry without having close friends. I suspect that will sound familiar to more than a few readers.
Harry Truman once said that if you want a friend in Washington, “get a dog.” I love my dog, but God made us to be in relationship with Him and one another. We also need to get a friend.
Let me suggest to you the same thing I advised this veteran pastor: Seek out other ministers in your area, outside your own denomination. Invite them to breakfast or lunch, or maybe just grab coffee together. Get to know them. You’re likely to find they are just as hungry for friendship as you are.
Surveys show that a large percentage of pastors have no close friendships, and that absence will chip away at your spirit in time. If that describes you, commit yourself today to reach out and build relationships. If you are blessed to have a “band of brothers” in ministry already, look around and see if there is another brother who needs you.