When one is in ministry, developing true friendships can be difficult.
One can be hesitant to trust people within the church to have more than a platonic relationship. I have often found it best to find close friends through groups or clubs outside of the church, a place that you aren’t “the pastor’s wife” or the “preacher”. I’ve asked Tara Ulrich to share her experiences in finding good friends while in the ministry.
Moving and Finding New Friends
Three years ago, when I left my call to take my current call, one of my biggest fears was making new friends. I knew that being in a new place that would be a hard thing to do. And over the seven years, I spent at my last call, I was blessed with some incredible friendships. In fact, to this day, they are still some of my dearest friends. I remember the members of the church telling me, “Show them your heart.”
I spent the next weeks packing boxes and praying my goodbyes by spending time with my friends. In fact, as I reflect back, it’s amazing to me the ways that I met new friends outside of the church.
- The group of ladies from Curves who surprised me with a sweet card and cash for my new adventure at my goodbye dinner…
- My youth worker friends who I could always count on to be there for me.
- A high school friend who I reconnected with while serving in the community.
- And those are only some of the examples of my friendships outside of the church.
Awesome New Friendships in the Church
When I moved to where I am now, God connected me with awesome friendships once again. I’ll admit I haven’t connected with the Curves ladies like I did before. But I’ve met awesome colleagues who get what it means to be a leader in this church and who I know call friend. They have shown up for me time and time again.
- My friend, EG, who sat in the emergency room for hours with me while my mom was there.
- Dear friends, CT and her husband RT, who immediately treated me like family.
- Another friend, KG, who surprised me recently with the sweetest thank you gift.
In addition, social media has connected me with some amazing people who I call friends.
These friendships may spread across the miles, but these friendships are real and authentic despite what some people might think. Face to face community is the best, but friendships on social media can and are authentic.
Finding Friends Outside the Church
It can be hard to find friends outside the church, but what I’ve learned is that it’s important to share our stories. For in knowing each other’s stories, we become even more connected. So my advice is this:
- be authentic;
- share your story;
- listen to one another and
- show them your heart.
I promise that if you do these things, God will provide you the most amazing circle of friends; whether in real life or online, who will always be there for you!
Tara Ulrich lives in Minot, ND where she serves at a Lutheran church as a deacon called to Home and Family ministry. She is a graduate of the University of Mary (Bismarck, ND) and Wartburg Theological Seminary. She loves to spend time with her friends and family, reading, writing, and on the beautiful prairies of North Dakota. You can follow her at her blog Praying on the Prairie.
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