Finding People To Walk With You In Ministry

Finding People To Walk With You In Ministry

In the previous posts we have been considering how to recover from the strain of preaching and the drain of ministry.  In today’s post I want to continue the theme of finding people to walk with you in ministry and life.  We have considered that it is helpful to find people who fill us, and those who share ministry with you.  There is another level of friendship, however, that I have found amazingly important in recovering from the pain and strain of ministry.

The Ones Who Loves You

In the Old Testament there is a story about love; not the romantic love of today’s television stories, but the love of one man committed to another in life.  The story of David and Jonathan is a powerful example of how one person can build up another in the strains of life.

The Great Commitment

David and Goliath’s battle is the subject of every Sunday school curriculum.  We are not often told of the aftermath, however.  We not only read of Saul’s growing jealousy of David after the battle, but also the growing bond between David and Jonathan.  “And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself.”  (I Samuel 18:3).  He loved him as himself.

The Power of Defense

In the next chapter the story goes on.  Jonathan becomes David’s defender.  “Saul told his son Jonathan and all the attendants to kill David.  But Jonathan had taken a great liking to David and warned him…Jonathan spoke well of David to his father…” (I Samuel 19:1, 4)  Saul reconsidered his plan at that point.

The Protector

As the story continues, Jonathan becomes David’s protector.  It is Jonathan who warns David about Saul’s plan to destroy him.  They weep together (I Samuel 20:41).

Giving Strength

While David was running from Saul, we read in chapter 23 that Jonathan and David met again.  “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David and Horesh and helped him find strength in God.”  (I Samuel 16)

Finding People to Walk With You

Don’t you wish you had a friend like that?  So how do go about finding people to walk with you in ministry and in life?  I don’t know the answer to that entirely, but I do know that I found a couple of them.  One was a friend since I was in the 7th grade.  He had moved into town and came to my school.  We bonded, and traveled together through High School, College and Seminary.  But I still wasn’t sure that he loved me enough to hang with me in the tough times.

My other such friend was someone with whom I worked when I lived in Southern California.  As we planned with a regional team to plant new churches, our hearts bonded.  But I still wasn’t sure that he loved me enough to hang with me in the tough times.

What changed?  I failed and fell.  The details aren’t all that important, but I made some pretty bad choices that resulted in the church that I served deciding that I couldn’t serve there anymore.  I was broken, crushed, and was so embarrassed in my failure that I tried to cocoon.  I didn’t want to see anyone.  But out of my brokenness, I lost my pride, so I was willing to open up to others about my struggles.

Bound Together

These two men, and five others wouldn’t let me stay alone.  They came to me, and promised that they would walk with me through the next painful stage of my life.  As I began to heal and move forward, a decision had to be made: would we keep connection even though I was moving away?  Would we covenant with each other to encourage each other in ministry and life?  With each of them the covenant was different, but it lasts yet today, 16 years later.

So how do you go about finding people to walk with you in ministry and life?  Identify those who are in your circle now.  Then identify the ones that you are pretty sure you can trust, and ask them if they would be interested in joining you in a covenant to further each others’ life and ministry.

For further reflection, check out this blog on finding an accountability partner.  We’ll continue this discussion in the next post.