Essential Relationships for Pastors: The Loneliness of Pastoring, Part 4

Summing Up
I believe that loneliness is part and parcel of the pastoral life, for reasons I have explained. There are times when our loneliness enables us to open ourselves to God in fresh ways so that we might sense his presence and grace.

Yet, not all pastoral loneliness is salutary. Sometimes it is harmful and debilitating. This negative sort of loneliness often stems from the fact that pastors are lacking essential relationships. In particular, pastors need close Christians friends (usually outside of the pastor's church), a small group of fellow pastors, and a mentor/counselor/spiritual director. Married pastors can also find deep support from their spouses. Such relationships will not abolish pastoral loneliness. But they will help pastors to experience the essential benefits of Christian community, which will, in turn, enrich their own lives and enhance their pastoral faithfulness.

5/3/2011 4:00:00 AM