Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Friendly? Yes. Friendships? No.

That describes Anchor. Sort of.

We work hard to be a friendly church to everybody who comes through the doors of our facility. No matter what you look like, smell like, sound like, walk like, etc - you'll get a genuine smile and handshake from us. Hot coffee, cold O.J. tasty snacks, comfy chairs, good music and message. We're a welcoming, hospitable group of people. And that is very important, especially if you are contemplating inviting a friend to Anchor. Most people, if invited, are willing to come to chuch with you. So if you ask, and they say yes, when you walk through the door together, you want a friendly atmosphere for lots of good reasons.

But what happens if your friend likes Anchor. And wants to come back again. And again. And again. After awhile one would think that the friendliness would lead to friendships. But it seems, based on different kinds of feedback (conversations, surveys, patterns of attendance/participation, etc), that newer people aren't feeling like they can fit in. And these are people that came to Anchor because someone at Anchor they knew invited them.

So how does Anchor move from being a friendly place, to a friendly place where you can make friends.

First: be part of events where some task is taking place. Have fun together. Serve together. Play together. Travel together. Eat together. Study together. Sing together. I hope you get the picture.

Second: be intentional about asking questions to learn about the other person. Ask about their job, school, family, hobbies, interesting experiences, etc. Obviously a caring attitude goes a long way.

Third: If they ask questions about you, have fun sharing some of your stories.

Four: Pray for them during the week when you think of them.

Five: Check in on them when you don't see them around.

Being in a group that meets often is a great way to make friends. You have a regularly scheduled timeslot in your week carved out for the same people each week. Whether this is a classic small group, or a Bible study group, or a ministry group, or whatever kind of group, getting in a group that meets regularly is a classic way to make friends. As long as you enter into it with the willingness to be/have a friend.

Can someone have too many friends? No.

Can someone have too many bestfriends? Maybe.

Have I just described a way to have a bestfriend? No.

Should you treat/view every friend as a bestfriend? No.

Should you be a friend to more people. Probably.

Love knows no limits. If you need more love, then go to God to get more love. Often times it is not time, energy, resources, schedule, health that limits your friendships. It is love. When you love others, love finds a way to be a friend.

First commit to loving more people (aka being a friend), and then secondly let the Holy Spirit help you sort out the time/energy/resources/schedule/health things.

You can only love/be a friend God's way with God's help. And with God's help, Anchor can be a great place where people who come to Anchor can make good friends. Our neighborhood/city needs Anchor to be that kind of place. You need Anchor to be that kind of place.

Some of you are working hard to be a friend to more people. Good. If you know of others at Anchor that you think need to open up their hearts to more love, so that they can be a friend to more people - pray for them. And love them too.

Love. Everday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is a great piece. Sometimes we think we have to be best friends to everyone or it is not worth being a friend. That is not accurate as some people just need a "friend's" encouraging word at a certain time or even to be noticed by a "friend" at a certain time. We never know when our encouraging word or friendly hello is what keeps some person going that day.