The Difference Between Making Friends & Making Allies

If you want to succeed in public life . . . you must both know yourself (what makes you tick), be interested in others (what makes them tick) and be willing to be vulnerable and accountable with others and enter into relationships with them that lead to action.  Edward T. Chambers

The Community Organizing curriculum from this training in October continues to inspire me in ministry.   Many of us would agree that:

  • Emotional intelligence is essential for effective ministry.
  • Authentic relationships make or break pastoral performance.
  • We are more connected than ever in terms of social media but we are also more isolated than ever.

Many of us Church People have known great preachers who cannot carry on a genuine conversation with another human being.  We have met great administrators whose words and actions offend.  We have know efficient task masters who Get Things Done but crush people along the way.

This is a problem.

We were created to be in authentic relationship with God and with each other.  This means that we share our imperfections and we admit our mistakes.  (God already knows about these things.)  It means that we rely on God’s grace and not an image of perfection to get through the day.  It means that we find enrichment from hearing other people’s stories and sharing our own.

The whole question about whether or not parishioners can be friends with the pastor is ongoing, but learning the difference between Public Relationships and Private Relationships is helpful.  Private relationships (friendships) happen spontaneously between roommates, co-workers, soccer parents,  or yoga pals, for example.  Public relationships are intentional alliances created by one-on-one meetings for the purpose of working together for a common passion.  The point is to connect in hopes of making the world a little bit more like God created it to be.

Relationships are everything. 

We need relationships with friends for social and emotional community. And making friends is hard – especially after elementary school.

We need relationships with allies for building a public collective that leads to positive change in the world.  And making allies takes hard work. But it’s an essential adult skill that leaders need to add to our toolbox for the sake of the Gospel.

Read Ed Chambers’ little book for more.  It will make Jesus happy.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.