every month i get together with 3 other youth pastors from 3 other churches nearby. these guys are studs. they are the real deal. i love doing life with them. when we get together, we don’t plan events or swap ministry ideas. we talk about life in all its rawness and ask each other about the condition of our souls. we talk about our families, our marriages, and our kids. we talk about the frustrations and stresses of ministry, but we go further into the issues of brokenness underneath and how we can often hide under the pretense that all is well. i have grown to cherish and look forward to these times more than any other appointment on my calendar. each time i come away feeling a new wave of refreshment. i’m a mess as it is, but without these guys i’m scared to think where i would be today.
a group like this doesn’t just happen. and there’s a good chance another youth worker in your area is praying for someone like you to reach out to them right now. who knows what God will do with it over time… they could become some of your best friends as you journey together!
after today’s meetup, one of the guys tweeted out to the rest of us a spot-on blogpost they had come across. be sure to head there for the full post. here’s an excerpt to get you started:
DON’T HOLD ME ACCOUNTABLE…HOLD ME CLOSE
Bob Goff said that. I wish I had.
Who is close enough to you to know when you’re off the rails? Who can you call for advice with the ‘stickiest’ of questions? Which of your friends will challenge you on the hours you’re working? Who will ask you how much you’re drinking? Who’ll call you out on your attitude toward your wife? Who knows your heart?
For most of the guys I know, the answer is nobody!
You can’t hire someone to be this kind of friend. You can’t ‘will’ it. You can’t manufacture it. You have to work for it.
A few years ago, I was challenged to find some friends. Not guys to ‘save’ and certainly not guys to mentor or “fix.” Guys to ‘do life with’… to draw close to and allow them to draw close to me. As usual, I wrote this down as a ‘thing to do.’ I drew a little square by it, anticipating the day I could put a big, black checkmark in the box. It’s a lot more complicated than that.
The answer (at least the starting point for the answer) came in one word…
I wormed my way into a group of guys who were meeting once a month. They knew each other, went to the same church (not mine) and had a lot of ‘road miles’ together, having met for a few years before I came along. They’d all told each other their stories. They knew each other’s junk. And now, years later, they know my junk, I know theirs, and we’re still friends. Actually we’re now real friends.