Our annual theme this year at Faith is Living Life Together. We want to make our church a place where it is easy for men and women to feel and to be connected to meaningful friendships and helpful ministries as they continue to grow in Jesus Christ. The response to this emphasis thus far has been extremely enthusiastic. I love seeing Facebook posts where people are talking about hanging out in some way in order to “live life together” at Faith. Many have commented that they are excited to see how the Lord uses this theme in the life of our church family this year.
Where Do You Start?
Many people tell me that while their lives are filled with activities, they are not filled with meaningful, growing relationships. Friendships take time. It is far easier to sit in front of our computers or our TVs and passively look at something than it is to invest time and energy into another person. Unlike our electronic gadgets, friends have a way of talking back, disagreeing with our opinions, and expecting us the live up to our beliefs. Like the title of our current Adult Bible Fellowship series suggests, friendships can be a mess. The question we all have to answer is, are they a mess worth making? Here are several simple steps to take to make Living Life Together a reality in your life.
- Decide to value “community” the way God does.
The Scripture is clear that God delights in bringing people together. Whether it be the children of Israel in the Old Testament or the church of Jesus Christ in the New, God often works in and through relationships. He values community. But every person has to decide if they value people and friendships the way God does. This is first and foremost a theological commitment. That is what makes the other suggestions below a delight instead of a drugery. Please pause and ask yourself this hard question; “is my view of the value, power, and priority of relationships similar to God’s?”
- Pray daily for people in your church family.
Praying for people draws you closer to them. Pray for the people in your ABF. Make a prayer list of the various requests that are mentioned on Sundays and in e-mail updates throughout the week. Pray for your pastors and other church leaders. You might be surprised how much faithful prayer makes you feel connected to others.
- Set a goal to develop 2 additional friendships this year.
Don’t let perfectionism get in the way of progress. Sometimes we find subjects so overwhelming that we choose to do nothing. Start with a reasonable number in mind. It would be better to set a goal of building 2 additional friendships this year and hitting that goal that setting a goal of building 50 friendships and achieving none.
- Practice hospitality at least once a month.
When is the last time you had a meal, a snack, or a conversation of any kind with a person you did not already know very well? If having people in your home feels overwhelming, invite someone to meet you for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee. If you invite people to your home, keep the meal simple and place the focus on spending time with them. You may want to include someone who is more gifted in making friends and learn from them.
- Attend Church Family Nights.
Church family nights at Faith are for everybody. You don’t have to be a member and you certainly don’t have to have a family. We just want to get to know you better. You will enjoy the slower pace of the service, the joy of hearing the testimonies of people becoming members of our church, and the beauty of celebrating the Lord’s table together. Come with the plan of meeting someone you don’t know.
- Learn names.
Often the first step to building a friendship is learning a person’s name. Spend time in the “picture board hallway.” Don’t be afraid to get it wrong. People will appreciate the fact that you are trying to get to know them.
- Join an Adult Bible Fellowship.
Without a doubt one of the best ways to meet people at Faith is by attending an ABF. Yes, it is another commitment. But you will love the smaller feel of these groups and the opportunity to learn about what God is doing in the lives of people just like you.
- Become part of the welcoming team.
Help our church Live Life Together this year by taking time to greet people in the auditorium, the foyers, hallways, etc. You never know when you might speak to someone who is really hurting at that very moment. A purposeful smile may be a small thing to you — it may communicate a powerful message to the person on the receiving end.
Adding to the list
What suggestions do you have for men and women who want to take steps toward Living Life Together this year?