I could not imagine doing what I do for a living—being in a paid ministry and leadership position—and not routinely making new friends.
So what do making friends and being in (professional) ministry have to do with each other?
A couple weeks ago, we had another great opportunity to make a new friend. The dynamic of pastoring I love most—other than pointing people to Jesus—is the huge number of occasions to move people from stranger to friend (or at least acquaintance). I’m always making new friends. I’ve made hundreds, maybe even thousands, of friends over the past couple years. Like I said, it’s one of my favorite parts of leading the church. I’ve found that the leaders I most admire are also the best friend-makers.
Our new friend here at 801South is Isaac Gay. He and his wife, Emily, are two of the nicest and most talented people I have ever met. I LOVE nice people. Of course, as a follower of Jesus, my only option is to love everyone. But I LOVE nice people. Ya dig? I’m very excited to now call Isaac and Emily friends.
When others come to me and say that they feel stuck in their own leadership, I sometimes ask them how (or if) they are making new friends. Over my years of leading, I have moved people into key roles as we have become good friends. So I pick friends. This makes organized and institutionalized ministry—which is what we do here in the American local church—much more fun and enjoyable. Most days in my career feel more like hanging out with friends than slaving away for the man.
When you are not actively making new friends, however, you get stuck in the same circles with the same people. Of course, consistency and longevity are beneficial—especially when it comes to direction and production. You always need to be moving in particular direction and always shipping or you wind up running around in circles and talking/researching/analyzing without moving much product.
However, you also need fresh energy and excitement as you move in that direction—otherwise known as momentum. Momentum is only present when there is newness. New friends amplify momentum.
I also made another new friend this week. His name is Mike and I’m excited about the resources that he brings to our community as a professional counselor.
So Isaac, Mike, and I. We are new friends. An artist, a counselor, and a pastor. Sounds like the opening to a joke, but actually it’s the church.
So how and where are you making new friends? What’s your friend-making routine look like?