This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend the 2022 edition of Homecoming at Central Baptist College. It was a lot of fun, and I was even honored as Central’s Mustang Ambassador of the Year. While the events were fun and the food was good, the most valuable part of the weekend was spending time with a handful of lifelong friends that I developed during my time at CBC. Over the course of five years (I was on the extended plan at CBC), I made some of the best friends in my life.
The highlight of the weekend was being interviewed by my daughter, Kat Carson and her friend, Cassie Hager. Kat and Cassie host the WIEGOH podcast for Central. WIEGOH is short for “What Is Even Going On Here.” The podcast is full of randomness. The girls wanted me, Dave Vandergriff, Rob Hager and Julian Dominquez to share some stories from our crazy adventures during our college days. After listening to these guys, I have determined that they managed to find more crazy adventures than I did. We laughed so hard we cried at some of the wildness.
Friends like these guys are incredibly important. I surrendered to the ministry in Rob’s dorm room floor at 1 a.m. on March 5, 1991. Dave and I were in the CBC Singers together and even share a birthday (although he is a year older). Julian and I survived Mrs. G’s biology class where we learned that “D stands for Diploma” and that waiting until your last semester of college for a freshman course is never a good idea. While these guys are fun and our shared history can be a little wild, I also know that they are going to be there for me when life’s circumstances get crazy.
For those of us in ministry, real friends are incredibly important. These are the friends won’t turn on you or use what you share against you. Real friends provide the security and stability that we need as we journey through a lifetime of ministry. God made us for relationships. I love my CBC friends. I graduated over 25 years ago, and some of my best friends are my old friends.
You may not feel motivated to make friends. It takes work. And, if you are like me, you may even ask yourself, “Is it worth the effort?” Let me say emphatically, “Yes!” Here are some reasons they are worth the pursuit:
• True friends can impact you and your ministry.
• True friends will hold you accountable. You may easily fall back into a certain sin. It happens. However, a true friend will call you out on it, and you know that they will continue to love you anyway.
• True friends will pray for you and truly mean it. How often do we share that we will pray for a person, then simply walk away from the request? People that will lift your needs to the Father are of great value in our lives.
• True friends can become some of your greatest cheerleaders. In ministry, there are times when we need someone to tell us that we can do it when we want to give up.
I’m sure you have your own reasons why true friends can be impactful in your life, but knowing that doesn’t translate into us making friends often enough. This introvert often forgets that God made us for relationships and I will neglect to invest in established friends or work at making new ones.
If we want to have old friends later, we must start by investing in and developing new friends today. Friendships are important for those of us in ministry. Make sure to make it a priority.