Friendship? In Ministry?
I LOVE TO SHOP. I get anointed to shop…I always enjoy finding a bargain.
In certain stores you will find a section of merchandise available at greatly reduced prices.
The tip-off is a particular tag you will see on all the items in that area.
Each tag carries the same words: as is.
This is a nice way of saying:
These are damaged goods.
These items might be slightly irregular.
The store is issuing you fair warning:
This is the section of “Something’s Gone Wrong”
You are going to find a flaw!
There’s a stain that won’t come out
A missing button
There is a problem somewhere with these items
These items are not normal!
We are not going to tell you where the flaw is.
You’ll have to look for it.
We all know it’s there.
And when you find it…
AND you WILL find it….
There is ONE fundamental rule…
In similar fashion, when you deal with human beings, you have come to the AS IS corner of the universe!
Can you think of that slightly “irregular” person in your life?
That person with the little tag that says:
There’s a flaw here
A streak of deception
A cruel tongue
A passive spirit
An out-of-control temper
I’m not going to tell you where it is…
But IT IS THERE
So when you find it
AND you WILL find it…
Don’t be surprised….
If you want to enter a relationship with this person…
There is only one way to do so…
The only way to have a relationship with anybody is to love them and accept them AS IS!
Ephesians 4:1-3 (AMP)
1 I, therefore, the prisoner for the Lord, appeal to and beg you to walk (lead a life) worthy of the [divine] calling to which you have been called [with behavior that is a credit to the summons to God’s service,
2 Living [as becomes you] with complete lowliness of mind (humility) and meekness (unselfishness, gentleness, mildness), with patience, bearing with one another and making allowances because you love one another.
3 Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.
Every single interaction we have with another person involves not simply exchanging information or performing tasks, but also INFLUENCING each other’s moods and attitudes!
EMOTIONS ARE MORE CONTAGIOUS THAN THE FLU!!!
We walk around with our own little emotional ATM’s with us…and people are either making deposits or withdrawals.
FOUR TYPES OF FRIENDS
NEEDED IN MINISTRY
THE DEVELOPER FRIEND – The Best Friend
Proverbs 17:17 (VOICE)
A true friend loves regardless of the situation,
and a real brother exists to share the tough
Your best friend will always be the person who:
brings out the very best in you
brings the gift of encouragement
and counsel to your life
MY BEST FRIEND and I, we:
buy the same clothes and shoes
go on vacation together
share ministry ideas together
When I get tired in ministry, I want to go spend time with my best friend because:
she will take me to Starbucks!
she will sit and listen.
she will take me for a little Retail Therapy.
she will give me a fresh perspective on my situation.
Who is your best friend? If you don’t have one, ask God to send someone into your life to fill this role.
Billy Graham states in his book, Just As I Am, that, without his staff and best friends (whom he met over 53 years ago--Cliff Barrows, George Beverly Shea, & Grady Wilson), he is convinced that he wouldn’t have made it. These three men protected him, strengthened him, counseled with him, and corrected him when needed!
THE DESIGNER FRIEND – Mentors or WISE people (advisers)
Proverbs 27:9 (VOICE)
The heart is delighted by the fragrance of oil
and sweet perfumes, and in just the same
way, the soul is sweetened by the wise
counsel of a friend.
The Designer Friend mentors us in:
any area where we need a MODEL
Designer friends may live near or far, be acquaintances, or even strangers. They “DESIGN” our lives through Scripture, books, CDs, podcasts, articles, or seminars, as well as through talks & conversations.
A mentor is not someone who gives you advice. They are someone whose advice you follow. There are two ways of gaining wisdom: mistakes or mentors!
No situation should be wasted when under the mentorship of a Designer Friend. I posted this quote the other day on my social media page:
Sometimes you win and sometimes you learn!
HOW TO FIND THE RIGHT MENTOR:
Who impresses you as being spiritually mature?
Who inspires you?
Who intrigues you?
Who has reached some of the goals that you have set for yourself?
Whom do others speak highly of?
Who do people go to for advice?
THE DISTURBER FRIEND – The “in your face” friend
The one who causes us to “fly” .
The “you can do it” friend!
"You can make it!"
"You’ve got this!"
Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (VOICE)
9 Two are better than one because a good return comes when two work together.
10 If one of them falls, the other can help him up. But who will help the pitiful person who falls down alone?
We need friends that will shake up our status quo!
Ask difficult questions
Force us to take a closer look at motivations and ambitions
Know how to stir us out of our comfort zones
Call us out to greater effectiveness
God uses “Disturbers” in our lives to become the object of greater force that breaks into our “motionless” life (frozen in place) and propels us to greater achievement! They bring you back from a ministerial coma!
Job 4:4 (MSG)
Your words have put stumbling people on their feet, put fresh hope in people about to collapse.
THE "DISCERNER" FRIEND – The Accountability Partner
In a lifetime of relationships, perhaps only a handful of people are willing to play this vital role because it requires mutual vulnerability.
These type of friends bring the gift of spiritual insight into our lives.
They know how to speak the truth in love.
They know how to exhort and rebuke, seeking to keep their friend on the right track.
Proverbs 27:5-6 (MSG)
5 A spoken reprimand is better
than approval that’s never expressed.
6 The wounds from a friend are worth it;
kisses from an enemy do you in.
The "Discerner" friend is that true friend who will walk into the room of your life while everyone else is walking out!
Always be slow in choosing your discerners and EVEN slower in leaving them!
Remember: YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Or can I re-phrase that: you don't have to be alone.
God will SEND these people into your life. Be watching for them and be sure to answer the door when they knock.
I encourage you to surround yourself with these types of friends. They will strengthen you when you are about to stumble and put fresh hope back into you when you are about to collapse.
I thank God for sending me friends in all of these areas.
Susan Nordin and her husband, Don, currently pastor CT Church in Houston, TX, where she serves as the Associate Pastor. Susan is the Campus Director for the Houston School of Urban Missions, based out of Oakland, CA. She also led the development, and now serves as a board member, of the Project Houston CDC. Susan holds a Bachelor of Ministry Degree through Central Christian University of North Carolina and has been in full-time ministry for over 28 years. In her free time, Susan enjoys spending time with her family, especially her four grandbabies, decorating, Bible-journaling, shopping, and reading. Her recently published book, One Determined Mom (a 30-day devotional for modern moms), can be purchased here.