"A true friend is one who is walking in, when everyone else is walking out." -Martin Luther
The above quote by Martin Luther is truer today than ever before as most of us have hundreds if not thousands of "friends" on Facebook and Twitter. But we all know that most of us truly have very few friends and often in ministry the numbers can be less. Why?
Because ministry is a lonely place, especially for those that serve in the pastorate position or overseas. Sure most of us have lots of acquaintances and casual relationships, but very few people that we can go to at anytime with anything. Proverbs 18:24 says it this way: "A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother."
I believe one of the things that makes friendships difficult in ministry is the pressure to feel that we have to be friends with everyone, which is both impossible and unhealthy. It is not that it would be a bad thing to befriend everyone, but it would be filling up your calendar with "good" things while in ministry you should focus on filling up your calendar with best things.
So my main point is that ministry can be lonely so it is important that we have friends; but that it is better to have a few friends instead of trying to cater to the masses. Mark Driscoll describes friendships in ministry this way, "Be friendly toward all, but friends with a few like Jesus, who knew many people but had Peter, James, and John as his friends."
Since moving overseas and taking on a new role in ministry I have quickly come to the conclusion that many times other people in ministry will still only be colleagues and that is okay because we are not called overseas to be friends with them, but to be obedient to Jesus.