Is it o.k with you if your pastor has friends?


What if you weren’t included in their group of friends?

I have found the whole idea of ministry leaders attempting to be as “normal” as possible, amusing. I grew up as a pastor’s kid and my dad spent most of his time outside of church with his family or in old, dusty used bookstores. At one point I thought my dad was a loser because he didn’t have any friends, but I knew that wasn’t the case because he is a Stratman and we aren’t losers!  But seriously, even if he wanted to spend a bunch of time with the guys or working the church casserole circuit, would that have caused unnecessary drama? Would it have been ok to hang out with some and not others? I was told by a pastor that “being friends with the people we ministered to was unhealthy on many levels”. I continue to wrestle with this statement.

You may be reading this and thinking that it is a non-issue, but I promise I continue to hear comments like “he plays favorites” or “I guess we aren’t in the inner circle” from time to time. Youth Ministry constantly deals with the “youth-pastor pet” syndrome because we are working with a group of people who want everything to be fair. Have you ever watched two middle school students split a candy bar? They do so with laser like precision in the name of being fair!

Here is the question at the crux of this post,
Do we want our church leaders to be one of us or not?

If the answer is yes, then….
1. We know that they can’t be friends with everyone, so we encourage them to model community with a few.
2. We also know that all personality types don’t mesh, so leaders being human, will connect with some better than others and that might not be you or me. So be it.
3. If they are like us, then they probably don’t want to talk about what they do when they are at the movies with their family. I wanted people to know that my dad loved God but he also likes the St. Louis Cardinals.
4.  Pastors can bleed like you and me. I have watched several humble church leaders take verbal beatings time and time again and it drives me nuts. While it is not the masses, some people see church leaders as punching bags because “they can take it” and they don’t get their feelings hurt because they are holy…BOLOGNA!!!!!

I personally want a pastor with a life. I want to follow someone who can speak, teach, live out the Word as well as someone who likes corn dogs, watching Nightline or playing golf.  I want a pastor who has a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other.

Am I just being angst-y or do others see this as an issue in church leadership?