Letter #10: Closer than a Brother

by Jonathan Haefs

Dear Jonathan,

I laughed so hard at the story about your conversation with your concussed friend. Not that concussions are funny, but the conversation was hilarious!

Believe it or not, I had a similar experience with my friend, Jeremy, while in seminary. We played intramural basketball together and he would get injured every single game (at least it seemed like it).

I even had to drive him home one night after he got a concussion. Needless to say, he did not make much sense, especially when we tried to order food at Sonic and he couldn’t even remember or pronounce the words “coke” and “hamburger.”

I share that story with you to remind you of one very important thing that is often forgotten or overlooked by seminarians…

friendship2There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother.

You have the amazing opportunity to form amazing, life-long friendships while in seminary. I know I have mentioned this to you before, but I wanted to tell you a little more about why I believe this is so important.

Knowing that you are heading for pastoral ministry, finding fellow pastor-friends will be vital to your (and their) spiritual, mental, and emotional health. Pastoral ministry is very unique, and it can be difficult to find friends that can understand the particular challenges you face.

However, fellow pastors can often relate to the things you experience even when you cannot express it with words. They can point you to joy in Christ when no one else can. They can pierce your heart with truth that you need to hear. They can make you laugh in almost any situation.

Find friends in seminary that will be these kinds of friends for life…people with whom you not only study, but also laugh, cry, joke, talk, etc. If you find the friends similar to those I have been blessed with…you will have found people who are as close to you as blood.

Just the other day, I received a random text from Keith that lifted my heart to the Lord. Then there’s Bradley who stops for breakfast every time he passes through my town…these times of refreshment are priceless. And whenever my soul is hurting or rejoicing, I immediately call Allen. No one else has the ability to speak life into my heart quite like him.

I know it may sound like I am exaggerating the value of friendship, but I really don’t think that is the case. I would tell you to pursue incredible, godly, passionate friends just as hard as you pursue your studies.

The friends that I have listed were people I took note of during my first and second semesters and sought them out. I was determined to make them my friends because I saw in them a treasure, a richness and authenticity in their relationship with Christ to which I wanted to get closer.

Right after Scripture (and alongside my family), God has used these friends more than anyone or anything else to speak to my heart. Jonathan, pursue brothers and sisters in Christ who will lovingly live life with you, pointing you to Jesus.

Pursue friends that will stick closer than a brother.

Grace and Peace,

J

*To know/understand the premise behind these letters please click here.

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