Friendship {Outside the Church}

{This is part two of a series on friendship.}

As much as I adore and love and feel absolutely called to serve those in our congregation, many of my lifelines come from my friends outside of our church. It is outside the church where most Pastors’ Wives feel comfortable being in their own skin and letting themselves be who they really are.

It’s important to have friendships outside of our church circles to give a different perspective to situations or to round out our sphere of influence. So often we can get bogged down in an idea when the people surrounding us hold the exact same views.

Allowing space for relationships outside of church may lead to a different solution to a problem or to brainstorming new ideas for a ministry. It allows a connection to the greater Body of Christ and allows us to see how God is working through the whole Church, not just our church. This “outside” relationship could be with another woman in ministry, with a Christian who attends another church in town, or with someone who lives near or far.

Often this type of relationship is the hardest. It is not easy to pursue “extra” relationships when there are so many demands from our own church family. There’s a new mom who needs a meal, a shut-in that needs a word of encouragement, communion bread to be baked – the list is wide and varied for a PW. Sometimes it is just hard to justify or even develop these relationships in a small-town or rural setting because of a lack of population.

This is where today’s access to social media and the internet is a blessing. Instead of being secluded in these rural places, women can go beyond their geographic limitations to connect with like-minded others, no matter their locations (this is our hope for Flowers for the Pastor’s Wife!). Use the internet to connect with childhood or college friends or to find community where you belong. Join an online Bible study where you can ask questions and learn and grow without having to be the teacher. I’m looking forward to being united with these women in Christ someday. I may not know what their earthly faces look like, but I’m often reminded that I’ll know their faces and their sweet voices in Heaven.

However, while I treasure my online friends, it became very apparent to me after a few years in ministry that I needed to have face-to-face friends as well – friends with whom I could live life. There’s nothing sweeter than having a cup of coffee or tea with someone who lives in my town but does not know me as her Pastor’s Wife. It is the highest compliment to me when a friend asks me to do a Bible study with her or when she tells me that she has forgotten that my husband is a pastor. This allows me the space to be and belong and not always be the PW who should have all the answers. It allows me to be a mom, a sister, a friend, and a Christian.

We also need to remember that having friendships outside of the church enables us to share the gospel with those in our community. After all, that is what Jesus calls us to do in the Great Commission. What good is our light if we always hide it inside the four walls of our church building? Seeking friendships with unbelievers and living lives of grace and mercy for them to see, and inviting them into that life, is a great treasure all around.

God built us for community. Sometimes that is hard, tiring, and frustrating. Sometimes it is relaxing, fulfilling, and full of laughter. No matter our periods of loneliness, or our times of abundant community, hopefully all of our moments are used to further our relationship with God and bring Him glory.

Part 2 of a two-part series
Go here for Part 1

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About Cara Kipp

Cara and her husband, Adam, have ministered in a small-town church for more than a dozen years. The town is small, but sadly not small enough that she can raise chickens. However, she is raising three plucky kids and a six-toed cat. Since being saved as a teenager, she’s been involved with the local church, using her passion for women and intergenerational ministry in church planting and church strengthening. She has a passion for Jesus, working out, knitting, and coffee.

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