Did you know that relationships are the glue that holds a church together? It’s not the preaching or the teaching – its relationships.
A survey was taken of church members. They were asked, “Why did you join this church?” 93% answered that they joined because of the pastor. Then they were asked, “If the pastor leaves, will you leave too?” 93% answered “No.” When asked why they wouldn’t leave, the response was, “Because I have friends here.” People stay in a church because they have friends there.
I once read about another survey of four hundred church drop-outs who were asked why they left their churches. Over 75% of the respondents said, “I didn’t feel anyone cared whether I was there or not.” What does that tell you? Caring about each other is vital! All of us want to feel cared for!
While some relationships will spontaneously develop, most relationships will take effort and time. You can’t just “hope” you will make friends in church. You must actively seek friendship. Talk with people, visit, call them on the phone to see how they are doing, invite them to lunch or a walk around the park or just have them come over to your house to visit. Friendships take time and effort.
A real key to a friendly church is: You don’t have to know everyone in the church to have friends, but you do need to know some people! Friendships are important.
Look what the Bible says about friends:
“Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” Proverbs 18:24 (Msg)
“The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Never abandon a friend – either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.” Proverbs 27:9-10 (NLT)
Even Jesus talked about friends when he said:
“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. You are My friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.” John 15:13-15 (NKJV)
Friendship consists of communication, compassion and commitment. All this boils down to caring. Caring about each other is vital! All of us want to feel cared for! Friendship just does not happen. You must actively seek friendship. May we be known as a caring – friendly church.
May God Bless Pastor Tom