The pastor offers the congregation’s laments and doxology to God and proclaims God’s holy word to the congregation. Friendships have little to do with this. Should God call the pastor to go to another place, it’s asking too much of the congregation to expect them to discern this with the pastor.
Ordination costs pastors, and one of the greatest costs is maintaining the lonely status of being surrounded by everyone in the church while always being the odd person in the room. [Layman] Jack Anderson will never understand this, but it is critical for his sake that I did.
As a physician, Jack had a similar challenge when he diagnosed me with a condition that required minor surgery. He didn’t ask me to help him discern the best course of action, and he knew that the truly loving act was to say necessary things that I didn’t want to hear. That’s because his ethical responsibility was to treat me not as a friend but as a patient. That makes perfect sense to him and to me. But he’s confused when I treat him as a parishioner.