Monday, May 21, 2012

Too Busy Not to Have Friends

by Shannon Milholland

Resident Best Friends -
Carynne and Clara
I armed myself with good reading. I gobbled up Rachel's Lovingood's In Our Shoes. I devoured Susie Hawkin's From One Ministry Wife to Another. As a brand new ministry wife, I pondered their talk of loneliness but summarily rejected the idea. I'd moved 17 times over four decades and never had difficulty making friends.

It won't surprise you that making friends in ministry has been a struggle. So many things battle - walking the line between openness and protection of our families, a multitude of priorities, and a desire to avoid hurt.

In truth we are all too busy not to have friends. Here are four ways to grow our ministry relationships.

Be Authentic - Our comfort level in sharing intimate details of our lives with congregation members will vary from one of us to the other. What doesn't is our need for authenticity. Each of our hearts longs for deep connection. Let's not wait for the other to open up. Take the lead in authenticity and relationship will follow.

Understanding - Often to develop the friendships we need, we will have to cross man-made barriers such as denomination or geography. To do so, requires understanding. It reminds of the familiar quote by St. Augustine, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity." Be the first to offer understanding.

Stop and Listen - We need to be heard. We need someone to stop and listen below the surface to the near silent beat of our hearts. To truly hear, requires us to press the pause button on our thoughts and schedule and listen with an undivided heart. Set the example with active listening.

Yield Your Desire - Friendships unfold slowly like spring's flower. We have to give our desire to God and pray for patience. Yield your desire to God and watch Him work.

Are you ready for ministry relationships? I am! I'm too busy not to have friends.

Shannon is a morning runner, an afternoon carpooler and all-day lover of Jesus.

She is the author of Jesus& My Orange Juice, a fresh-squeezed oasis for ordinary living. Shannon finds joy among piles of laundry and miles of carpools and delights in leading others to this place of contentment in life. She presents the gift of prayer in her free 30 day prayer guide PrePrayed: Preparing for Life’s Events. She is a frequently published author. Most recently, she was a contributing author to Always There: Reflections for Mom’s on God’sPresence.

As a speaker, Shannon is straight forward about her own struggles. She is a compassionate advocate fighting for victory in the life of her audience with a message of hope and encouragement.

When not writing or speaking, she enjoys her favorite job of wife to Scott and mom to four daughters from preschool to high school.

Connect with her online at or on FacebookTwitter or Pinterest.


  1. Great advice, Shannon! Thanks so much for encouraging us. :)

  2. "We need someone to stop and listen below the surface to the near silent beat of our hearts." That's true friendship, Shannon. That's what we all crave. Thanks for sharing your heart and your wisdom.

  3. Shannon, I haven't had a chance to read this blog post until today, but every single time I looked at my in-box I kept seeing that title. Too busy not to have friends. Just that one sentence has stuck with me. I've made an effort this week to get with a few friends, and it's been so refreshing. Thanks for the good encouragement.


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