How Can I Develop More Friendships at Church? by Reagan Marsh
As a pastor, I was once asked by someone…
“How can I develop more friendships at church? I’m new at this church. It often feels disconnected or distant, even when I try to be outgoing. Other times I think I’ve talked too much and try to discipline myself to listen, but then I’m not approached by anyone. I usually feel like I talk too much. What should I do?”
Getting to know people takes a while, especially in a new church setting. It’s important to give it time. “Courtesy, consideration, and compassion are the general rules of thumb in any public gathering, and they ought to be foremost in the household of faith.”
The relationships at my church (as a young church plant) for example have slowly grown over the past several years and still aren’t perfect.
As such, it’s important to continue to be faithfully present at church.
Also, engage people, show love to the brethren, and seek to grow in grace and friendship.
Courtesy, consideration, and compassion are the general rules of thumb in any public gathering, and they ought to be foremost in the household of faith.“The hard part of sanctification, especially in our speech, is that we can tend to overcorrect (we swing from the extreme of too much talk or engagement, to the other extreme of almost nothing).”
The hard part of sanctification, especially in our speech, is that we can tend to overcorrect (we swing from the extreme of too much talk or engagement, to the other extreme of almost nothing).
While our attempts to engage are truly matters of love to others coupled with the exercise of self-discipline, it can send mixed messages to others and look like withdrawal or sullenness.
Far better to discipline yourself to speak, while evaluating whether or not your speech is dominating the conversation.
We find both elements in the New Testament: we’re to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), requiring both true words and careful consideration of others and how they’ll perceive and receive them.
We’re also to “be quick to listen and slow to speak” – exercising godly self-control, and ensuring others are heard as well – while practicing the self-discipline of being “slow to anger” necessary for any pleasant, fruitful, Christ-honoring conversation (Jas. 1:19).
Love speaks; humility listens; and obedience aims for both.
- Show up.
- Show and grow in a brother’s love.
- Show and grow in a friend’s interest and attention.
- Show and grow in esteeming others better than yourself.
- Show and grow in a learner’s humility.
- Show and grow in a Christian’s patience.
- Show and grow in a servant’s heart.
- Show and grow in Christian perseverance.
“If a man would have friends, he must show himself friendly” (Prov. 18:24).
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For more info about church life, check out Tom Pennington’s Three Hallmarks of a Biblical Church Member.
Learn more about Reagan Marsh here.
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