Should Pastors be Friends with Church Members?
Should Pastors be Friends with Church Members? Pastors provide leadership in their churches and members look up to them for spiritual guidance. When church members interact with pastors, there are friendships that emerge and many wonder whether this is right. Pastors are believers who God has called to preach the gospel and shepherd His flock in church, and they have relational needs like the rest of us.
Spending Time shoulder to shoulder working in the kingdom will build close ties. When we work in Gos’ Work there are times of trials and times of blessings. As Christians labor together a strong comradery can develop.
This is good for both the Pastor / Preacher/ Evangelist – they need friends and at times it can be very lonely. On the other side of the friendship, many times the Preacher is mentoring the one he is befriending. They see the Evangelist dedication, sacrifice, great attention to God’s Word, and look up to that.
Should pastors be friends with church members? The simple answer is yes! Pastors need friendships too, and they can find them among the church members. There is nothing wrong with pastors befriending church members and developing lifetime friendships. However, they need to remember that their priority is shepherding the flock and feeding them the Word of God. But as pastors consider friendships with members of their churches, there are certain guidelines that will be beneficial.
Friendship does involve accountability – so in those relationships flowing both ways it is very healthy to have open communication, that is uplifting to both.
Should Pastors be Friends with Church Members
1. Follow the Leading of the Holy Spirit
As pastors consider friendships with church members, they need to remember to pray and seek God regarding the relationships in their life. This will avoid friendships that have the potential to destroy the unity of the church. In Isaiah 30:1, God desires that we form alliances by His Spirit. This means that before we develop friendships with others, we are to pray and ask God if these people need to be in our lives or our inner circle.
Some people will be acquaintances or simply sheep to be fed, while others will be long term friends, and pastors need to know the difference. A bad friendship in the church can cost the pastor his position and give the church a bad reputation. As pastors interact with church members, it’s only natural for friendships to develop but they need to be discerning in making their choices.
2. Create Healthy Boundaries with Church Members
Pastors cannot avoid interacting with church members and many of them are looking for the prestige that comes with knowing the pastor. If a pastor does not take note of this, they may end up befriending people who are not genuine in their friendship. What a pastor can do is create healthy boundaries with church members and act in a respectful manner toward them. This means that the pastor is not available to hang out with them all the time. He or she can choose which events or gatherings to attend with the friends they have formed in the church.
Job 6: 14-17
If there is any friendship that is getting out of hand, then it is time for the pastor to communicate their boundaries to avoid a disastrous fallout. It is also not advisable for the pastor to get too close to individuals in the church as this may lead to favoritism and breed jealousy in others. James 1:8-9 tells us that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves but we are not to show favoritism because it is a sin.
Over the years I have known several that I call as friends, that have been a part of my walk and growing in faith in the kingdom. They at a moment of weakness became unfaithful to their spouses. Both ways being a man, and also being a woman. A wise preacher will realize that people need help, they are sometimes in the middle of terrible broken situations. What begins as a counseling session, a listening Ear can easily drift into infidelity.
Many times not planned, but Satan taking the opportunity. Can destroy
- A Christians Marriage
- A Christians Career
- A Christians Church
- A Christians Ministry
- A Christians Family
- A Christians Children
Something taht started out innocently can become toxic – If Satan has opportunity.
It is very wise for a pastor to guard all his relationships. From a Mans Perspective, I never counseled a woman alone. Just as a Precaution. Maybe the Preacher’s marriage is strained because of his workload, because of finances. a variety of reasons. If they are counseling someone of the opposite sex, that one might be trying to survive a dissolving relationship. That Pastor looks very appealing. They will listen, they will empathize
When serving God we need to make sure we do not give Satan Opportunity to destroy God’s Work. Ephesians 4:27
By allowing friendships to develop without boundaries, pastors can place themselves in situations where they begin showing favor to certain people in the church as a way of honoring the friendship. To avoid the drama that comes with relationships in the church, a pastor can have healthy boundaries the moment they befriend anyone in the congregation so that things are clear right from the beginning.
3. Guard Your Heart
Some church members love to show off that they know and are friends with the pastor. When a pastor does not discern this in those who like to be around him or her, a dysfunctional friendship can be the result, and it may be hard to get out of without serious repercussions. What pastors need to remember is that anything they do with church members not only affects their personal lives but the church.
Pastors need to guard their hearts as they go about their duties of pastoring and providing leadership to the church. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23). They may be tempted to form friendships with certain people because they have a lot in common, but they need to be watchful because the heart can be deceitful especially when it is lonely. The pastor should not let anyone into their hearts because they are a church member and want to be their friend. They should approach every potential friendship with caution. “The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Proverbs 12:26).
4. Seek the Advice of Their Mentors
Pastors can seek the advice of those who mentor them so they can get to hear first hand how to conduct friendships with church members. Their mentors have been down that road before and have a lot of wisdom to share. The truth is that pastors cannot disregard the reality of being friends with church members because some friendships could have developed before they became pastors.
Mentors will pray with you and offer biblical guidance on how to shepherd a church while avoiding potentially volatile situations. They have more experience because they have pastored churches for many years. In fact, they have wisdom borrowed from pastoring several churches and know the common issues surrounding church friendships.
The Lord’s Church is like a Hospital. People are coming to it because of the sense of Hope. They see the glimmer of light in a very dark world.
Sin in its destructiveness has led them to a point of Despair. The Church turns Unholy Men and Women into Righteousness. It mends the Broken. If mankind could do it on its own we would not need Jesus.
David slipped from Dedication to following Bathsheba. Solomon Followed others into Idolatry. Saul/Paul cast men and women into Prison. Judas Betrayed the Lord for 30 Pieces of Silver.
These are some of God’s Mighty who came from a place of darkness to see the light. If These Important people in God’s Work could drift away. We should Guard ourselves more closely.
Counsel from seasoned pastors will prove to be life-saving. “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors, there is safety” (Psalm 11:14). Pastors can avoid costly mistakes by hearing the testimony of other pastors and how they deal with church friendships.
One of the most difficult siyuations that I found in Leadership. Was that as you work side by side in the kingdom, you develope very close bonds with other christians.
Being a Leader you have to determine direction. Sometimes following God’s Call on your heart, means you are standing alone making tough dificult descisions.. friends will come and try to influence you, to sway you to thjeir way of thinking. It takes a very Strong Direction to move the way god would havre you go, if your bfriends do not aggree.
They feel betrayed, you feel like you are betraying them. But your resolve must be. “As for Me and My House, We will serve the Lord” Joshua 24:15
God is not against pastors having friends who are their church members. In fact, a church thrives when it has a friendly pastor who mingles freely with people. The pastor must remember that his or her first priority is taking care of the needs of the church members and meeting their spiritual needs. Any closeness that develops should be weighed against the Word of God and wise counsel. The Bible is full of wisdom for every situation we face in life, and it should be the first place a pastor goes for guidance.