by Stan Bennett

by Stan Bennett

Monday, June 23, 2014

Don't Be Friends With the Pastor

There’s a lady in my church who became friends with the woman who was the pastor before me. In fact, they are still friends, and that’s okay by me. 

But it’s not okay with some of the other members who still sort of resent her for it.  Nobody quite articulates why—perhaps they think she monopolized the pastor, or maybe gained special favor. Who knows?

The woman who decided to be my friend in this church has taken some criticism, too. Some have told her she shouldn’t get too close to the minister—there needs to be some professional distance. Then some started some ugly rumors about her and me, so we have put a little distance between us. She has paid a price to be my friend.

Another pastor told me how he befriended a family in his church, but another more powerful family in the community wanted the minister gone. His friends said, “We love you but we have to live with these people. Our livelihoods are affected by them.” And the minister had to go away.   

These are not isolated stories. It happens in most churches in most communities, I think.

I used to be angry that no one would stand up for what or who was right—the strength was on the side of those who had the money and the political power, and often the family ties. I’ve become more resigned that friendship with a pastor has its risks.

I really do understand, but is it any wonder why pastors self destruct with no friends, no place to feel safe, no place to belong?And is it any wonder that they act inappropriately, perhaps crossing forbidden boundaries? Mind you, I'm not excusing the wounds pastors have inflicted on the innocent but it doesn't surprise me that it happens all the time.

If you aren't a son of a bitch when you become a pastor, the job can make you one. 

All jobs have their difficulties--I know that. But usually, the people you work with don’t pick on your family, and usually you get to have at least some friends in the community.

I am so ready to get out of this.

Perhaps when I do, I’ll become secret friends with the pastor of a church nearby. He can come to my house to drink and curse. And I’ll listen to his frustrations and perhaps gradually tell him my story and show him there’s a way out. 

But first I have to get out myself.


  1. I'm feeling their Christian love allllll the way over here, friend. I know you will get out if you keep trying. And I like the idea of you having some kind of halfway house for pastors to give them the support you never had in these "houses of god." -- Cas

    1. Hi Cas. Thanks for being one of those kind of friends. Hey, maybe we could call it the Holy Halfway House.... or not.

  2. Clearly this rule must apply to their friendship with Jesus too.