Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

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How Do I Develop Friendships in the Church?

Most American tend to be private, lonely, and isolated - yet at the same time, they crave for friendship. How does that relate to the church?

86% of those who come to a church for the first time do so because a relative or friend invited them and cared enough about them to bring them in. Then, most people who stay at a church do so because during the first six months they find at least seven other people who can be their friends (usually in a small group where they feel that they "belong") and because they get involved in a ministry task within the church. Based on this, it is essential for you to develop friendships outside the church so you'll have someone to invite to church and/or witness to, but it is also essential for you to develop several friendships with believers inside the church so that you'll have someone to support and encourage and care about you within the family of God. There are four stages of friendships:

How Do I Start Making Aquaintances?

Smile, say Hi, shake hands, ask questions about their family and occupation.  Don't quickly pigeon-hole people as "someone I don't want to waste my time on".

David W. Smith, in his book, Men Without Friends (1990, Thomas Nelson) writes:

"Relationships are usually won or lost in the first four minutes. When we meet someone, we are quick to form instant and usually lasting impressions.  First impressions are not always accurate, however.  Major League pitcher Walt Wilhelm hit a home run at his very first time at bat.  But in his long twenty-year career, he never hit another home run.  While first impressions are not always accurate, they are always important. The formula for success with new acquaintances during these critical minutes is not very complicated.  We need to have direct eye contact and extend our hand as a greeting.  We need to use the other person's name, ask sincere questions.  And, of course, we need to smile."

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What Qualities Should You Look For in Companionship?

  • Acceptance (Matthew 7:3),
  • Empathy,
  • A willingness to listen (Proverbs 18:13 ),
  • Loyalty ("tolerance of idiosyncrasies),
  • Self-disclosure,
  • Compromise (a willingness to make concessions)

C.S Lewis wrote:

"To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries: avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket - safe, dark, motionless, airless - it will change. It will not be broken: instead, it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable."

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How Can You Develop Closer Friendships

  • Pray for them - Job 16:20 -21 - and ask that person to join you in a prayer partnership!
  • Show selfless love to them - Job 6:14 - by offering to help during a time of need!
  • Talk about the beliefs, activities, fears, and values that you both hold in common, and listen!
  • Occasionally give a card or gift or call or visit - Proverbs 25:17 - but don't become a pest!
  • Invite them to your home (i.e. show hospitality) - don't just sit and wait to be invited!
  • Be faithful through the hard times - Proverbs 18:24; 27:10. Keep confidences (unless not revealing it would hurt the person) and don't be like 2 Timothy 4:10 where Demas deserted Paul!
  • Be honest - Ephesian 4:15; James 5:12 - speaking the truth in love!

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What Are Some Biblical Principles on Building Intimacy?

#1. Proverbs 17:9, 17 = Be a Consistent Companion - (illus: Jonathan - 1 Samuel 8:1-4)
            a. Peacemaker - 1 Samuel 19:1-7
            b. Protector - 1 Samuel 20:31 -34

#2. Proverbs 27:5,6,9,17 = Be a Confrontive Counselor - (illus: Barnabas)
            a. Influence - Acts 9:26 -27
            b. Involved - Acts 11:21 -26

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