Leadership, Friendship, Loneliness and Partnership

I have about 3500 FB friends, almost 9000 Twitter followers and am connected with many other folks through various other ways. About 600 folks listen to me preach every week and about 100 folks a day read the blog that I write at LeadTheChurch.com.

And the truth is that I have fewer friends today than I did 15 years ago.

Its really not even close. I have many fewer friends now than I did then.

So why? And is it a good thing, bad thing or even necessary thing or ultimately is it a big problem?

A few thoughts…

1. I think it is a necessary thing. Over the years I have lost several good friends because my role as a leader required me to stand for a principle, make a decision or ultimately say no to something important to other people. And its hard to be a friend with ‘that guy.’ I understand that. It makes sense.

And the truth is, there are probably a few times when I took a harder line than I should have or made a decision too quickly. So that adds to the problem.

But ultimately this is a necessary reality.

2. Friends sometimes become coworkers or partners and they aren’t exactly the same thing.

I’m a senior pastor/church planter. And our church has several staff members. And I love and respect ALL of them. We have a great staff who work hard, are good at their jobs, have a high level of chemistry and are ultimately a good team.

But I have to be their boss as well as their coworkers and friends. And although that is friendship in some way… its not exactly clear and pure friendship.

I still have to be the boss from time to time. And that changes things.

So once again, we are looking at a necessary reality that reduces the number of pure friendships.

3. Culturally we in Western Kentucky are not great at being friends with people who disagree with us. And because my role ultimately requires me to share with people what I think about nearly everything… it creates many points of disagreement for people. And I agree… there are probably many reasons to disagree with me on several points… lol.

4. There are many, many things I wish I could go back and do differently. I have lost good friends because I was stubborn, overly opinionated or inflexible. And I can think of several situations in the past 15 years where I handled something much differently than I would handle it now. And I truly wish I could change that.

Ultimately, this article is about the friends in my life… not about the lack of friends.

I have fewer friends, but I have amazing friends.

My relationship with about 7-10 people in my life right now is stellar. And I am so thankful for it.

They bring me clarity, focus, friendship, accountability, challenge, closeness and love. And I don’t know what I would ever do without them in my life.

If you are one of my close friends, thank you. You probably don’t really know how meaningful you are to me.

God uses you in my life each and every day. And I am so thankful for you.