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Here’s an older cartoon that’s a little light-hearted today.
In seminary I was instructed to not get too close to the members of my congregation.
I broke that rule the day I started.
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This attitude and outlook is so foreign to (and really an affront) to my own experience in a minister’s (not pastor’s) family and upbringing. I can’t deny your seminary experience and advice, and evidently major courage in denying your instruction–but I can only conclude it characterizes a fringe and marginal aspect of the “institution.” (That said: I can understand the motive behind the advice. Teachers are warned against becoming “pals” with students–but that’s a different context and culture. Porcupine Pastors: what good could they possible be? That’s your point, yes?
That brings back painful memories! The new Anglican curate arrived in the parish in the same month. We became friends (so I thought) and he was my best man (over 50 years ago). Three weeks after we were married – while we were visiting my wife’s mother, I was told that as I was now married, I no longer needed his friendship.
He had been taught that he should not have friends in the parish!!!!!
Lucky Yeshua wasn’t the prickly type of Shepherd we see illustrated here – If he were I wouldn’t liked to have been dancing beside Him at the wedding feast of Cana!
I was always surprised about boundaries in ministry. I mean they are good things and all, and are necessary for good and healthy relationships. But aren’t we following a guy who generally had horrible boundary practices?
Perhaps the need isn’t so much for the pastor to avoid friendships among their congregation as it is educating the congregation as to how to be a friend to the pastor – how to not have unrealistic expectations of the pastor’s time–how to respect the pastor’s need for time with their family, etc.