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What are the blessings of having other pastors as friends?

In this 'Answers to Equip Indian Churches' video, the Brothers Harshit, Jonathan George, Chandran Samuel, and Nathan Eda tackle the question "What are the blessings of having other pastors as friends?"

Jonathan George: Something that hopefully will encourage other brothers as well is to talk about: What are the blessings of having other pastors as friends in your life?

Nathan Eda: Well, if you can watch this brother's (Harshit Singh) talk on EIC (We're doing these small seminars), and he starts with an illustration, about how when pastors meet they're like dogs, right! They sniff each other and they try to figure out who is this person and how does how he present a threat to me. So, it's good to have all those walls torn down in genuine friendships with other pastor friends. So I'm just thankful to the Lord for bringing us together as friends with our different quirks and with our different personalities. We still encourage one another in the ministry and because ministry can be such an isolationist kind of thing (especially for the pastor) it is even more refreshing to have guys that you can share things with and that can encourage you in your pastoral ministry. That's been that's been very helpful for me in that way.

Chandran Samuel Kadambavanam: Yeah, I think, I mean you know pastoral ministry can be a very lonely place. And I think we do that a lot to ourselves. But it can be a very lonely place and so it's fantastic to meet other brothers who know and experience that – some of the unique challenges which we talked about earlier about the true pastoral ministry. And it's always very enlightening because they're going through similar sorts of things. So you're not the only sufferer in that sense and God is gracious to them and what he's doing in their life can be just a tremendous encouragement to you as well. So, I find that enriching and I mean just being able to connect with guys who are like-minded they love the gospel they love the church. You know it just really energizes you encourages you all of those things. And then I think also, you know, pastors like theological conversations and they don't get many people to do that with. 

Harshit Singh: Like today you guys were doing in the taxi.

Chandran Samuel Kadambavanam: Yeah, not just that I mean over lunch we're cracking jokes that are theological in nature.

Nathan Eda: Very nerdy theological jokes.

Chandran Samuel Kadambavanam: So pastors get that, so I think that's that's fun to have as well.

Harshit Singh: In our church we have plurality of leaders, plurality of elders. So many pastors having a good relationship among them in our local church which is a good thing. And we really enjoy that and cherish that, but having friendship outside a local church people around the country and other places also has been such a joy for me personally, a blessing and just learned about just watching other people. I think all the things that I learned from one of my mentors many years ago was just to rejoice and to truly be glad when you see other brothers doing well in ministry, which is very counter culture in a context where we're very competitive, very turffy, and “It's mine and I only rejoice when I see my ministry grow or my church to better.” I think learning to and also experiencing and rejoicing with the brothers when their churches flourish. I mean we've been just talking about, “Hey brother! What's going on in the church and then they tell us this has happened, we've seen this conversion, we've seen this person coming through Christ. You've seen this person transform in this way.” And just rejoicing with them and encouraging them it's encouraging for us. And I think I find that very good for myself to rejoice with our brothers this way. 

Chandran Samuel Kadambavanam: I’ll just add a couple of things. Also I mean one is we can get into a ghetto mentality. And I think connecting with brothers, who may have slightly different theological perspectives on things, is really good. It's humbling also, it helps us have a bit of an open mind as well to how churches think and how pastor read Scripture. We don't have a monopoly on it in that sense, even though you might think your interpretation is always right. Having other brothers around, you can be very sanctifying as well. And the other thing is I think we live in a in a time when there is so much of media and we see so much about ministries and churches in media. 

And so we tend to judge ministries based on what we see, but when you meet people personally you know it adds a different sort of thing. There's a humanity to it in that sense and it's sobering to think about your own ministry and their ministry. And like you said you know you rejoice in ministry when you're able to connect with the person and not so much how their sermons are on YouTube. It's nice to be able to do that, it’s more personal.

Jonathan George: Whether it is within the elder team or even with pastors outside. The good thing is we are all at the same level and so like like even a simple thing like you can make jokes at each other or you can speak usually maybe a church member wouldn't dare tease you. But then it's good for your humility, it's good for your sanctification that others actually can point at your quirks and have fun.

Chandran Samuel Kadambavanam: True 

Jonathan George: Anything else which springs to mind.

Harshit Singh: No, I think I've had dozens and dozens of conversations with pastor friends from different places, being able to encourage them, when they have an issue that they want to talk about a problem that they are grappling with. Me on the other hand, called “Hey! what do you think about that?” I think that the joy  and encouragement. Or being rebuked by somebody else like I have noticed this about this thing in your life or your ministry, what do you think about this. And having the humility to just learn to receive that I think that's good for us. These are different ways having pastor friends, it's good for our soul. It's good from ministry, it’s good for the better of the church. We're not the saviors and one of the worries with the EIC and AIPC is I fear that we all start thinking that somehow we are going to change India or influence Indian churches. That's not a goal, I mean it's our own life and doctrine, our own families, our own churches and our friends.

Nathan Eda: Yeah! and to be honest like we do have a tendency to think that we're going to affect change more than God affecting the change through his preached Word. And when, I met these other brothers who are doing phenomenal work throughout the country you can understand we're always going to remain small in that God is going to give himself Glory through his people through the preached word in any way which he pleases and we get to be a small part of something as magnificent as that. 

So this friendship has helped me move away from the spotlight on me in some ways that I gotta do this, I gotta to do this, to: God here I am use me the best the best way you think you want to and give yourself Glory through all of this because you've saved me and I know you're saving people even today through your work.

Harshit Singh: So very practical, I think one thing what we do in a church is regularly pray for other churches and pastors. And I think our church people are beginning to recognize the names. So we pray for pastor Abir, Pastor Boboy and Pastor Yashwanth, Pastor Mario. You know people know those names now, these are the churches that we are praying for atleast on Sunday mornings or prayer time. And that's also a very joy of being friends with one another. So we're not just praying for some individuals and random persons. They are friends of our friends and friends of the congregation. 

Nathan Eda: Another thing is we don't all toe the line on everything. While we believe essentially the same things, we don't all believe the same things about everything. And there's a tendency where, we do hold to our positions because we've thought about it. But there's a tendency where that arrogance can come out of that and and what a friendship like this does is shows us a biblical pattern of disagreeing with brothers while having the essentials intact, you know, a friendship like this helps us to think through things like, what Albert Mohler call like theological triage. What are the main things and what are things that we can't work together with?

Harshit Singh: Who's that? 

Nathan Eda: Albert Mohler!

Jonathan George: Just to close, I think if you're a pastor who's out there and you don't have a plurality of Elders, I'd encourage you invest in men, have a team with you, and make friends outside with other pastors as well like-minded people. It'll encourage you and you'll be an encouragement to them as well.

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