Being raised as an only child had its challenges. Yes, mom did everything she could, and in my opinion, she did too much. My mother was a "work-a-holic" (actually she still is). She held down 3 jobs to take care of one kid. Though a commendable attribute, for me it meant coming home to an empty house, feeding myself, and putting myself to bed. Then each morning my mother, in her tiredness would call each of her siblings names "Blanche, Joyce, Jeff". A few moments later she would call my name "John". Of course, I laid in the bed until I heard my name.

This portion of my life left me longing for friends. Real friends! Not those who are looking for something from me, but people I could share with, laugh with, cry with, and grow with.

Since entering the ministry, I found that after the wonderful expressions of worship each Sunday morning, after the crowd is gone, I sit in my office alone. Yes the congregation needed the Word, the power of God was present, but at the end of the day....I have found myself in the same place I was 30 years ago, home alone.

If you are reading this, you too probably feel the same way. After you minister to the 10, 50, 100, or 1000, after the crowd is gone, your there alone. You may have a wonderful spouse, and beautiful kids, but still alone. Walking on a faith journey that even your family doesn't understand. If this is you, then I want to encourage you..."Be not weary in well doing..." Galatians 6:6 The lonliness of this journey will have you befriending people and entering into relationships that could be a detriment to you, your family and your ministry.

In Exodus 18, Moses was being "Chided" by his followers. I found that strange, that such a respected leader would be "chided". It was revealed to me that Moses had become common (befriended) with the very people he was leading. No one "chides" a person unless they have become close. This became a detriment to his leadership ability and God had to do something about it. He instructed Moses to "Go Before" the people. In other words, "Get back in your rightful place as leader and not as friend".

If your experiencing issues with members of your congregation where they have somewhat lost respect for your leadership... Check your position! Are you "with them" or are you "before them". This is key, because the problem may not be with your members, it may be you.

God goes a step further in putting Moses back in his right place. As Amelek began to attack, God instructed Moses to go on top of a mountain, and take two (2) people with you. Their responsibility was to keep his hands up. He took two people that were concerned about him, his family, and his ministry.

Yes, Ministers need friends. Friends who will encourage them, strengthen their hands,and gird them up so that the work of the ministry can go forward. Ministers need someone who can recognize that they are weakening, and will run and get the ROCK (Jesus), for them to sit on. Yes, Ministers Need Real Friends!

Whatever your title or position... Whatever your calling or area of ministry... Whereever you may live...

Get yourself a couple of REAL FRIENDS! Not those people looking to suck you dry and then leave you home alone. But someone who is genuinely concerned about you, your family, and your destiny. People that will remind you who you are and whose you are. You don't need a whole lot of them, you just need GOOD ONES.

It will be the best thing that ever happened in your life!

In Him,

John Young
Senior Pastor, FellowshipWorld

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Comment by Dr. Robert E. Baines, Jr. on January 27, 2009 at 3:18pm
Pastor Young,
Keep up the good work. Pastoring can be a lonely calling. It has been my experience that other Pastor's may be the best source of friendship. However, even they can betray us and hurt us. As for members of our church, they can definitely hurt us.

I am reminded of how Judas knows our place of retreat. If we are not careful, we will become paranoid and think everyone is like Judas. Or we will become to trusting and get burned again. I believe our quest is to seek the wisdom and discernment to build relationships and friendships over time.

At risk of sounding too "preachy," we must find our greatest fulfillment, companionship, and joy in the Lord. That is, we need people but we need fellowship with the Lord most of all.

Be blessed,
Comment by Elder Linda K. Smith on December 23, 2008 at 10:35pm
Thank you Pastor John for these words of encouragement. I have been in the place you described, but thanks be unto God that He has placed two very important "Real Friends" in my life. We share in our families with our prayers, our struggles, our set-backs and our triumphs always giving God the glory! This is what real friends do because we understand the same things...."And we know that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose!"

God Bless and Keep You!
Comment by Natrina LadyRev Lee on December 23, 2008 at 9:52pm
God Bless You!! I really appreciate this writng. It really has blessed me alot.

Lady Rev

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