(This was originally posted on July 18, 2019)
This post is the final one in a five-part series on friendship.
Over the past month or so, we have discussed the benefits of godly friendship. In this final post in this series, I want to share the perfect place for discovering and developing godly friendship: your local church.
Despite the terminology utilized by social media, it is not possible to have many close friends. Close relationships require such hard work that if we try to have too many close friends, we will end up with no close friends at all. So, where should you discover your closest friends? High school? College? Work? The gym?
While each of those places could give friendships, the chances of finding someone with a worldview that would encourage you to follow Christ is much lower than the church you attend. So, the people you go to church with are not just people who happen to show up at the same place and time each week; they are prime candidates for deep friendships.
Whether or not you develop friendships in the church is influenced by how you view the church.
Do you view the church as a drive-through where you stop by quickly each week to get what you need and then get back at what you want to accomplish for the day?
Or do you view the church like a sit-down restaurant where you enjoy the conversation with a few select people but depend on the staff to prepare the meal, serve the meal, clean up after the meal, all the while courteously ignoring the rest of the people in the restaurant?
Or do you view the church like a family gathering at Thanksgiving where everyone brings a dish to the table, helps set the table, eats together, and then cleans up together afterward – all the while putting up with each other’s quirks because, well, they are family?
Do you see how one views the church will influence the types of relationships they have in the church?
In closing, friendships are important to Jesus. He is the best friend you can ever have. But we still need to cultivate friendships on this earth. It will require lots of patience and hard work, but it will be worth it. And the prime place to grow these deep friendships is the local church.
P.S. - if you are a pastor, developing close friends in the church is expontionally harder and much more risky. I still think it is worth it but we just have be prepared for the extra challenges and dangers that the rest of the church does not have to think about. Perhaps that will be another post in the future if I hear enough feedback asking me to write about it.