The articles I’ve linked here are both a pastoral dilemma and opportunity to those who are engaged in congregational ministry. Read what Craig Barnes and Landon Whitsitt have to say about pastors and friends…
Now a few thoughts of my own:
What a wonderful occasion we had last Sunday as our congregation baptized your beautiful daughter, ___. It was a privilege to cradle her in my arms, place my hand on her head and speak the words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit” on behalf of the entire Church. It was a joy to hear the members of our church affirm the promises you also made as you presented her for this sacrament.
Along life’s journey she and you will grow and learn wonderful things. You’ll also make mistakes. There will be occasions when she brings you Kindergarten masterpieces and teenage moments when she will speak the most hurtful words you’ll ever hear. There will be days when you will be a teacher, a chauffeur, and a host of other things. You’ll nurse her when she’s sick or provide comfort as she grieves the loss of a favorite stuffed animal. You’ll struggle alongside as she does her homework and has her heart broken by a first love. Along the way you will crave a relationship that will seem to be as elusive as the lucky four leaf clover: that of friend.
Rest assured, the relationship of friend takes intense cultivation. It is a relationship that like a sculpture requires patience as it is carved from a precious piece of stone. It may need an adjustment here and there as the chisel bringing the relationship into existence may slip. Even if it does, you must not abandon the work. As you fulfill all or even any of the jobs you may be called to perform, you will be engaged in the sculpting of a friendship.
You must always remember that your first role in her life is to be her parent. This will make demands on you and the toughest demand will come with the day you must say goodbye to her. It is my prayer for you both that at that moment she will begin to realize how much of a friend you have been.
May God bless you and your family,
The work that I am called by God and ordained by the Presbyterian Church to do is much like that of a parent. I must always remember to whom my responsibilities lie and the purpose of my calling. Some where along the way, I pray that what I’ve done results in a friendship or two…