After over 10 years of ministry I have noticed a big issue. I don't think i have ever felt more deep moments of feeling alone and isolated as I have as a pastor. What I have come to learn is I am definitely not the only person in ministry who feels all alone at moments in their life. I think the devil wants to isolate us so that it makes it easier to take us out.
Did you know that loneliness is felt in the same part of the brain as physical pain? Yes, it hurts that bad. I am sure there are some people reading this that can say, "I feel that intense pain right now." I am writing this specifically for people in ministy. But I am hoping that if you have a pastor or friend in ministry that you will take this moment to reach out to them let them know they are not alone. You will be surprised what this means to them.
I had a friend who recently booked a semi-famous youth speaker in the church world from his city to speak at one of their youth retreats. My friend was so excited, not because he got to meet this semi-famous person or have his face on their flyer. My friend called me excited because he thought that he was creating a friendship with a guy in his region and that they could work together to build the kingdom and do big things in the city.
I called my friend a few days after his retreat to see how it went. He was so disappointed. He said, "The guy just treated me like I wasn't on his level the whole time." Sad thing is my friend is such an amazing youth pastor who is doing great things. He is also someone I trust my life with and this speaker really missed out on a good friend.
This type of thing has broken my heart in this generation of pastors. I see so much "networking" going on, so many Pastors seem to ignore other Pastors if it seems they have nothing for them. Imagine if our networking became a group of people making friends and doing whatever we could to see the others become great. We could be building an army of Pastors and friends but instead it seems to not happen alot. It seems as though we close off to a small group of friends hoping the rest just become fans. We need to be in this together as the body of Christ.
I really feel like if we want to really change our world, people in ministry need to be better friends to each other. I am so open when people reach out to me to be friends. I need friends, I have been and can still be that lonely Pastor. I don't care what size ministry you have. The only thing that matters to me is whether or not you are looking for a genuine friendship.
I had a young man call me a few months ago and ask if I would have lunch with him. He wanted help getting started in ministry. He was so shocked when I said "Yes." He said, "I cant believe a Pastor at a church your size is actually making time for me." I remember hanging up the phone and thinking how crazy that is. I understand we are all busy but how do we build the kingdom if we aren't willing to open the gates to our worlds.
I can remember as a kid reaching out to people just hoping someone will help me find an open door. Most people ignored me. I pray every day now that I am in a place where I can help open doors. I do everything I can to bring that about.
If we really want to reach our world, we must become genunie friends--support each other; reply to each other. Lets get over being "Cool" on social media and cheer each other on.
I think one of the greatest battles the Devil is winning in the church is a bunch young ministers that are more worried about networking and some sort of fame. We need to seek true friendships. Enter into a covenant to fight with others to build the kingdom together. There truly are many pastors already doing what I am saying, but this is something I see. It hurts to talk to so many pastors that feel alone. I think it hurts for me because I know how it feels.
I believe we could do so much more together. Pastor Lloyd Ziegler said once "Snowflakes are fragile but when they stick together they stop traffic."
Even if we didn't have the hope of doing amazing things together (which we do), at least we wouldn't have to be alone. Be a friend to each other so they can "know we are Christians by our love".
If you need a friend, feel free to email me firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on twitter.. if you're in ministry, Ill follow you back.