Why Can’t We Be Friends?


FriendsSenior pastors sometimes adhere to the adage that familiarity breeds contempt when it comes to their relationship with their worship leader. Some of those myopic perspectives were taught by and learned from well-meaning ministry preparation professors and mentors. But if Jesus is our model for ministry and he called the disciples with whom he ministered his friends, then why shouldn’t pastors do the same.

John Maxwell has concluded that over 70% of pastors have no close friends at all. So how can they possibly model for their church what it means to live in community when they are personally living in isolation? Part of Jesus’ Great Commandment is to love our neighbors as ourselves. Beyond our families we should have no closer neighbors than those with whom we partner in ministry.

Those concerns with losing respect and maybe even control have created a working relationship that is often professional but not very personal. But Jesus’ close friendships didn’t keep him from exercising instruction or discipline when necessary. Peter overstepped his bounds and Jesus corrected him. And Jesus rebuked James and John when they wanted to call down fire to destroy an entire village. So having to exercise authority when necessary didn’t seem to jeopardize the intimacy of their relationships.

Anecdotally, it appears that relational divides are one of the main reasons for short-tenured senior pastor and worship leader partnerships. So how can we expect the worship of our church to be healthy when the relationship of the two primary worship leaders isn’t? And those relationships will never be healthy as long as being right is more important than being right with each other.

Most worship leaders long for a culture of transparent communication with their pastor built on trust that isn’t guarded, territorial or defensive. They crave a close friendship and ministry partnership but don’t often realize the job security to initiate it. So consequently, it will probably never occur unless and until the senior pastor initiates it.


2 Responses to “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”

  • Tim Aagard Says:

    “John Maxwell has concluded that over 70 percent of pastors have no close friends at all. So how can they possibly model for their church what it means to live in community when they are personally living in isolation?”

    That’s a good question. But John Maxwell will never question ANY element of the clergy version of church to fix this, and every other dysfunctinoal element of the pulpit and pew routine. John has to please the pulpit people, so he can’t confront their systemic disobedience. I was taught to keep a “professional distance from the sheep. I was the shepherd and they are different – sheep.” I immediatly knew this contradicted everythign about spiritual leadership from Jesus and Paul. I quit clergyism after 2 years because there is no solution to this, and every other disobedience baked into pulpit and pew life. 15 years later I learned you can’t even be a full tither, giving thousands of dollars to buy the salaries and confront church errors with scripture. You have to get out completely. I did, learned more truth, and courange, and now go back in to plant seeds of reformation.

    This problem will not be fixed without a full systemic reformation. Sin corrupts everything. The sin baked into this system is claimed to be godly. Our Bibles are twisted to justify it. Example: “Let the elders who rule well….” Senior Pastors love a little “ruling”. They have the Bible skills to see that Greek word for rule is not there. They have the skills to see Jesus used the Greek word for rule and rejected it “…not so among you”. Matthew 20:25-28. Senior Pastors are blind. They even protect their blindness. This is only one of many. I’m not trying to be mean. I’m just delivering scripture to a twisted reality presented by this artilce.

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