I don’t know if Lone Ranger Syndrome is real. I didn’t research it at all (not even on google). But I do know that pastors have a bad habit of getting all by themselves in ministry. Single staff church pastors have an especially tough time because they are alone in their study at the church building for many hours per week. But, I also see multi-staff pastors begin to withdraw over time. As they pastor larger and larger churches they begin to believe that they do not have time for fellowship and accountability with other pastors.
Of course when I say pastors are all by themselves, many of you would imagine this to be impossible. After all, pastors are always around people in worship and Bible Study and meetings. But, even with all of those people around, pastors can sometimes withdraw.
Pastors can run into their work or even run away from their work. They buy the lies of the devil that they are supposed to be tough enough too handle the rigors of ministry all alone or that there really isn’t anyone who wants to listen anyway.
Pastors can start to assume that other pastors are too busy doing their own ministry to be concerned for us.
Here are four relationships every pastor should cultivate (thanks to Mark Dance for the names associated with these relationships)
- You need a mentor. When you think of mentor, think of Paul. He took young pastors and leaders under his wing and guided them. He built relationships and kept in touch. You need someone who you can call when life gets hard.
- You need a mentee. You need a Timothy. There needs to be someone you are investing in. It may be a young pastor or two or it may be a 7th grader in your student ministry, but you need to be investing personally in the next generation of leaders and raising them up.
- You need an encourager. Who doesn’t love Barnabas-the son of encouragement. Find that person in your church or somewhere else in your life who is an encourager. Pastors lives can be emotional rollercoasters, find that person who will pick you up when you’re down.
- You need a friend. I’ll admit that I almost called this a “ride or die” friend, because that’s what you need. You need a Peter. A guy who will fight for you or with you, but regardless of the fight who you know will always have your back.
Pastors, not all of these relationships need to be with other pastors, but some of them should be. You need pastors who can speak into your life in ways that lay-people sometimes can’t. If you are not a pastor, consider asking your pastor if he has these relationships in his life. If he doesn’t pray for ways you could help him to cultivate those.
You’re not superman. You are a cracked earthen vessel in which Christ has trusted his treasure. As you share that treasure with the world around you, you need to regularly gather with people who can help to patch your cracks and fill you up for the ministry to which God has called you.