Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
HomeAll The NewsSTUDENT MINISTRY: A Need for Friends

STUDENT MINISTRY: A Need for Friends

by Dan Carson

Being in ministry can be a lonely job. Am I complaining? No. Even after 30 years, I have no plans of stepping away. God has called me to serve Him, no matter what comes my way. However, it can be a lonely place.

      You might think that in a vocation all about people, loneliness wouldn’t be something we would have to deal with, but it is common. Why?

      • Most of us invocational ministry are called to lead. That leadership often pushes a bit of a separation between those leading and the congregation.

      • Many in ministry become fearful of opening up to those around them. They have been hurt and have decided to put up walls.

      • Ministers are often treated differently by those in normal jobs. Fair or not, people have a tendency to hide who they truly are around pastors.

      With these things in mind, how do we fight the loneliness? God created us for community and doesn’t want us to be alone. Let me suggest the following ideas:

         • Find other ministers with whom to connect. There are unique challenges those in ministry face, and we don’t always need to lay those struggles at our spouse’s feet. You can find some of these relationships in ministerial alliances, local associations and network meetings. Student ministry workers need these connections as much as anyone else in ministry. You can find some of these connections through our Student Ministry Matters gatherings and our Facebook group —

         • Look for friendships outside of the church. Over the years, I have formed friendships with a variety of non-church people. Some have been believers, while others have not. I have met people in the running community, through taekwondo classes, in the workplace and more. The added benefit to these relationships is the opportunity to share the love and gospel of Jesus.

         • Lean into your relationship with God. If the loneliness is weighing you down, know that God is right there with you. We see examples throughout Scripture of God’s men facing times of loneliness. We often see these men realize that God is their source of strength and hope.

         • Seek out a counselor. Loneliness that is not addressed can turn into depression. If you find yourself stuck in that place, find a professional to speak with about the problem. If depression takes hold, you won’t be of value to anyone. Don’t be afraid to speak to a counselor. When my father passed away, I spent about a year in counseling. There is nothing wrong with asking for help. You may be the leader of your ministry, but you are not immune to the effects of loneliness.

      The truth is that we all need friends. We need people in our lives we can share with and laugh with on a regular basis. God created us for community. As a minister, you may not be able to be close friends with those in your congregation, but that doesn’t change the need in your life for relationship. Take the time to form friendships.