Run Focused: Relationships that help

In the past, I have posted that in order to be truly effective in ministry, you have to be running focused in your life.  In continuing that theme, I firmly believe that not only will running and exercise help you as you run a focused life and ministry, but having some core relationships around you as well will help you run a more focused life.

Who are they and what do those relationships look like?

  1. Friends who you can be real with.  I have a lot of friends.  In fact, if you will look at my Facebook page, you will see that I have over 1,100 of them.  But a lot of those friends are acquaintances and even people I don’t talk to anymore.  In order to be really running a focused life, you need a core group of friends in your life that you can be “real” with; people who really know you…ESPECIALLY your baggage.  That way there is no hiding or pretending.  They know who you really are and don’t all of us just really want to be around people who we can be real and ourselves around?
  2. Friends who aren’t in ministry.  Like any little bubble you get into, people in ministry need to run with people in other circles of life, if for nothing else, it keeps expanding your horizons and you learn more about others and what they do.  When you trap yourself in your “ministry bubble”, I feel that we lack for depth of relationships and lack of perspective in life and what others go through.  Some of my best friendships are people not in ministry and I have learned so much from them (as I hope they have learned just as much from me).
  3. Friends who aren’t people you minister to.  I have found in ministry that those I am ministering to can sometimes become my friends.  That’s not a bad thing, but if all the friendships you have are people you are ministering to, then there is a lack of real relationships.  You need people in your life that you can “be yourself” with and let your hair down.  When we are always around people we are ministering to, we really can’t be our whole self.
  4. Friends who aren’t afraid to call you out and challenge your thinking.  I don’t need another “yes” man.  I need someone to tell me how it is and isn’t afraid to call me out.  I need people who are ultimately concerned about my well-being and health, not helping me fulfill my every “wants” even when it can get me in trouble.
  5. Friends who will listen to you.  I have 2 friends in particular that are some of the best listeners.  If I didn’t have those 2 guys in my life, I would have said or done some pretty stupid things in my life.  But, because they gave me the freedom to call them and vent, they really helped me focus on what I needed to do, rather than just act out of me emotions.

So, 5 characteristics of friendships that we should be looking for if we want to run a focused life for the long term.  Agree?  Disagree?  Post a comment sharing your thoughts or experiences so that we can all learn from each other and benefit.


Tom Pounder

A father of 4, Tom is the Online Campus Pastor as well as Social Media Director at New Life Christian Church in Chantilly, VA. He blogs, vlogs, periscopes and podcasts regularly about student and online ministry stuff. Check out his work at and on iTunes (search YMSidekick).

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