Church friends can absolutely change your life. Someone much wiser than me (I have no idea who first said this) once said these words: Your future is determined by two things, the books you are reading, and the friends that you have. I believe that is an accurate statement.
I don’t know about your experience, but I have friends at my church that have enriched my life. In fact, I don’t know what I would have become had it not been for making friends at church.
When I look way back at my life at Hurst Junior High, like most teenagers, I remember the influence of two my school friends who had a negative impact on my life. I will leave them nameless. But then something amazing happened. I moved from Hurst, Texas to Worthington, Minnesota. We began attending a new church and overnight I had several church friends. (some are pictured above: Norma,Jerry, Terry, Tim) Guess what? Not one of them was perfect. They all had flaws. But they were believers in Christ. I can honestly say that those friends helped to change the direction of my life. We hung out. We laughed. We went to football games. We played “ditch em.” We TeePee’d houses together (yes! it involved toilet paper). Some are still my FB friends.
Forty years later, I still value “church friends.” They are as close to me as my real family. Guess what? They aren’t perfect, but then neither am I! The greatest thing is that we do life together.
After pastoring many years, I have observed something about people. Some individuals are able to make friendships rather quickly, and some struggle with knowing how to go about it.
The truth is – everyone needs friends. Any small church (under 200) is the perfect place to make friends. It is easy. Just follow this simple verse and these few tips that come from years of observing church life.
I learned it in the KJV. Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly…” I like that verse because it tells me that it is my responsibility be friendly if I want friends.
Here is some do’s and don’ts of church life if you want to develop church friends:
- Do arrive early and hang out in the lobby after church. That is where introductions are made and people get to know each other. I have observed that some people come in late, and then make a beeline for the door when it’s over. And then they wonder why no one knows their name.
- Don’t expect church people to think, act, and believe exactly alike. God doesn’t have a giant cookie cutter that he uses to make Christians. Not everyone has the same view, idea, heart, habits, or customs. What binds people together coming to church is Christ. All Christians aren’t in the same political party. Some Christians have tattoos and some wouldn’t dream of having a tattoo. And guess what…all that doesn’t matter at all. What matters is that they are followers of Jesus
- Don’t limit your friendships just to people of your same age. You might be surprised how fun that 75 year old is at a dinner party. You may also be surprised how much help a single mom needs and how good it feels to help her. Why did God invent multigenerational families? Because he knew there was strength in it. A smaller church can almost seem like a family reunion every week. Read my post about the benefits of attending a small church. http://folcc.org/2017/01/11/the-benefits-of-attending-a-smaller-church/
- Do become the initiator. A simple question like these on a Sunday morning may reap great benefits. Does anyone go out to eat after church? What do people do for fun around here? Meet the pastor and his family. Find someone interesting and take them to lunch. Shake hands. Find out who is on facebook.
- Don’t think that just attending a main worship service is enough to make lasting friendships. Even if you are very friendly at the main worship service. That will not be sufficient to make deep friendships. Go to a Sunday Class. Attend Celebrate Recovery. Find a small group. Get involved in ministry.
I know one thing. Jesus died for the church. We are going to live forever in heaven. If you don’t like church “people”, what will heaven be like? I choose to believe that we can have a bit of heaven here on earth by having church friends.