In the mid 80’s popular rap group Whodini had a hit song called “Friends.” In the tagline of the song they raise the question: “Friends, how many of us have them?” They go on to describe what they think is a real friend. The longer I am in ministry the more I recognize the need for a friend. It is always easy to remove ourselves, thinking that we don’t the encouragement, perspective, and guidance a friend can offer. But a true friend is indispensable.
Here are three types of friends I believe that every leader needs:
A “Been-There, Done that” Friend
A been-there, done that friend is someone who is not necessarily older than you, but may be more experienced. Someone who has walked the same road, and that road longer than you have. A been-there, done that friend is someone who offers you insight and a perspective that you may have overlooked. Its someone who listens but is not afraid to tell you the truth. They may even risk the friendship for the sake of truth. This kind of friend ensures that your growth and development is steady and progressive.
A “Walk With Me” Friend
A walk with me friend is someone you invite to walk with you along for the journey. Someone you invest in, someone you develop. Paul told Timothy “The things you have heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim. 2:2) Leaders are responsible for passing on the baton to the next generation. Who are you training? Developing? There are some who have remarked that I am a better teacher than my father. Well, in my opinion any father wants their son to go further and accomplish more than they did. Truthfully, I ought to because he has instilled in me everything that he is and knows. I will pass that on and more to others who are committed to me. If you are not walking with others, much of what you know, and what others have instilled in you will just fall into the sand. Only to be buried with you.
A “Till The Wheels Fall Off” Friend
I am with you “Till the wheels fall off.” While growing this term meant a friend who will stick with you through the ups and downs, through thick and thin, the joy and pain. They know your secrets, your flaws, and even personal issues. A friend who has proven that they have your back! They have walked with you through various seasons in your life. They can be counted on. It is a reciprocal connection. This friend can be counted on like a good family member.