Make New Friends
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. ~Hebrews 10:24-25
Children are not the only ones who need friends at church.
I ran into an old friend who had recently changed churches. She was excited to be learning a lot from the preaching and teaching. But, she was having a difficult time “connecting” with anyone on a more personal level.
It was sad to hear. In spite of her desire to make friends, she still only knew the people she had known when she got there. She said that the people in the congregation are warm and friendly on Sunday mornings. What she is hoping for, but not experiencing, is fellowship outside the worship times.
Her disappointment has caused me to think about relationships within the church. What is our responsibility? What is the church’s or even other people’s responsibilities?
Is some of the problem a lack of hospitality? Why has it become so rare? Within the Church has “reaching out” to someone new been relegated to an email that thanks them for visiting?
[tweetshare tweet=”Within the Church has ‘reaching out’ to someone new been relegated to an email that thanks them for visiting? @BethBingaman” username=”l1Mvxn@FHuRJuD(9KnNrndv&uI%9C@eN:1:1″]
Likewise, I have been wondering if my friend is taking any initiative to build relationships in her new church. Is it all someone else’s responsibility?
If the church is not organizing fellowship events so the people get to know each other, should we be inviting others into our own homes? Isn’t practicing hospitality something the Bible commands us to do? (1 Peter 4:9).
Being the new person is never a comfortable position to be in but there are many ways to get to know people in our churches.
- Work side by side
- Study in a group Bible Study
- Take nursery duty with another woman
- Go to Sunday School and not just the worship service
- Show up for fellowship events
- Volunteer for some “one on one” practical ministry to someone in need
- Invite others to our own home
I can’t even imagine the joy of a Pastor when someone comes and says, “How can I help and get to know people around here?”
Jesus gave a specific command that we are to love one another (John 13:34).
He will not hold us responsible for how others in the church obey this command. We are responsible for how we obey it.
Before we leave a church because we haven’t found a friend, we need to answer these questions:
- Is the church doing what she is supposed to do?
- Am I doing what I can do?
Then, we can respond accordingly to find the friend God has for us in the church.
- For Our Good - February 12, 2020
- Future Benefits - January 8, 2020
- Attention Getting Behavior - October 16, 2019
Now I have the old song, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.” in my head. 🙂
Making friends seems to get harder as we get older and without the common bond of having kids at home, so I appreciate your practical “how to’s”. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!
Good points, all. It takes both reaching out and being reached out to. The churches we’ve enjoyed the most and grown the most with have been warm, inclusive and promote Sunday School or small groups. The very best experience we had getting to know folks was after we made a retreat called Cursillo. We continue to fellowship with folks from retreat as often as we can. There are many interests that can unite us, but it’s Jesus who knocks down all the walls.
“He will not hold us responsible for how others in the church obey this command. We are responsible for how we obey it.” Such a truth that we often ignore. Our part in this sometimes gets fogged up in the ‘wishing it were easier/different/like it used to be’ mentality. I’m in the muck of this myself, so I needed the encouragement to move it on, girl, move it on! Thanks Beth!