Getting Started in Friendships That Build the Church
by Dick Wulf
What would you do if you became convinced that your friendships were some of your best opportunities to honor and obey Jesus Christ? How would you respond if you realized that wherever two or three believers are gathered in His name, Jesus is among you? Are you clear on what He wants you to do?
The following suggestions come from my professional training, in which I learned what makes small groups of people successful in both relationships and the group’s purpose.
It is very important to agree on a biblically significant purpose for your friendship, recognizing that it is a key part of the larger church. Your purpose should describe a result, not an activity, so “to be each other’s friend” is not adequate. And, since God made each of us to need help (“Adam needed a helper” — Genesis 2:18), it is best to include the phrase “to help one another” in your purpose statement. My suggestion is that you adopt something like the following purpose: The purpose of our friendship is to glorify God by helping each other be all that God wants us to be together as a component of His church.
Discuss among yourselves the costs of friendship in light of your newly adopted purpose. Things to consider may include but are not limited to the following: (a) commitment to help each other; (b) letting Jesus lead, (c) confidentiality; (d) learning the Togethers of Scripture, and letting these instructions from God guide your time together.
Agree with each other to pursue the purpose and do whatever is needed to work toward fulfilling the purpose.
Brainstorm more specific things that might be required of the friendship to accomplish your purpose (minimum frequency for meeting together, minimum length of meetings, making time to do good deeds together as a team, etc.). Remember that the purpose should guide this discussion. This a good time to look over the list of 65 Togethers of Scripture, because these are the specific things that need to be done together as friends to glorify God.
Perhaps it would be good to discuss what it means for a friendship to be a part of the kingdom of God. Here are the suggested actions from the “Friends Together with Jesus” card that’s included in a 65-card deck available.