Yes, is my answer to Dave Miller’s question asked at SBCVoices.com, “Can a pastor have close friends in his church?”1 I’ll explain why my answer is yes that a pastor should have close friends in his church even if he feels like he cannot. Note my subtle switch answering whether a pastor can have close friends in his church with whether or not he should.
My answer is based on three premises: 1. pastors are members of the local church too, 2. pastors must be known for the congregation to know they are biblically qualified, and 3. pastors must be known so that others may imitate their life and faith.
Pastors are leaders in local churches who are also members of those local churches. There are many one another verses in Scripture that guide how believers are to treat each other. Since pastors are fellow Christian church members, the one another verses also apply to them. For example, in order to love, encourage, and build up one another Christians must know each other.
Pastors must be biblically qualified (Titus 1:5-9) to lead congregations. Congregants may only know if their pastors are qualified by knowing their pastors. Pastors must even have a good reputation among those outside the church (1 Tim. 3:7). It is easy for outsiders to make false charges against a pastor when they don’t really know the pastor. It would be much more difficult for an outsider to falsely charge a pastor to his congregation is the pastor has friends in the congregation who truly know him. A congregation that really knows their pastor will better be able to imitate their pastor’s life.
Christians are told to imitate the life and faith of their leaders (Heb. 13:7). Congregants must know more about their pastor than simply hearing him preach and teach in order to imitate his faith. If the extent of a pastor being known within a congregation is listening from the pew then maybe a good podcast can replace the pastor.
While all Christians have close Christian friends outside of their local church they most likely strive to build greater relationships inside their own congregation. I may be wrong, but I cannot imagine a pastor encouraging his congregants to build deeper relationships with those outside their congregation. If I am right, then pastors should also seek greater relationships within their own congregation.
So my answer is yes that a pastor can and should have close friends within his church. A pastor having friends within the church will make it easier for the congregation to carry out biblical relationships and commands within the church.
- Dave Miller. A Voices Forum: Should a Pastor Have Close Friends in His Church? sbcvoices.com ↩