Discussing the value about the friends we have at church seems to me to be very important. One of the fun things about church is looking forward to being able to catch up our friends on Sundays?
Now, I'm not suggesting that this should be anyone's "primary reason" for attending their respective service, but I think it is important to look at examples, such as teens involved with youth groups, and see how big a part seeing their friends from Friday night at the service is really exciting;
This is probably and reasonably so, a key part of fellowship for them.
My next question relates to those a little older, say at university or recently engaged in the work force, how are we (they) getting to know our friends at church - now that we're a bit older?
The first answers that jump to my mind, are bible studies and other similar fellowship groups, I think these can be brilliant ways to get to know people and have a really important role in building each other up in Christ. This provides a great opportunity to get to know fellow believers.
Another activity that has lead to some great friendships is serving, both in church and outside, with fellow Christians. So many times this proves to be a great way to get to know others with overlapping interests and short of suffering together it is said that working together draws people together.
While all these are great and important things, I think we shouldn't forget to have some fun with our Christian friends every now and then.
A tried and true technique for this is sharing a meal, often dinner, with others. In my experience this is a fun relaxed way to get to know others in your church, and you've probably all incorporated this into a bible study at some point as well I'd imagine.
Other than dinning you also have other common activities such as walking, boating, baking, other sports etc... They can also be great, fun, events.
But there is something to be said for the regularity of youth groups and the likes in building connections between people.
Perhaps we should also be looking to build regular or semi-regular events with our friends at church, a chance to unwind a bit and catch up without anything needing to be fixed, music to be practised or several hundred dishes to be cleaned.
I myself regularly play board games with a few guys from my church; I joined in the group after moving to Sydney and to my new church. I feel it has been incredibly important in building friendships at church, helping me to become a part of my new church family.
Furthermore as with a bible study, seeing the same people each week, you can keep a connection with them, being aware of what is happening for them in their lives each week.
From my experience as a university student, I'd like to encourage church families to continue to pay attention to the small groups of friends, with their semi-regular hang outs and to all these groups to invite others to join in.
Friends at church are important to us? I certainly think everyone should have a firnd or friends at church. I encourage everyone to try and make that true for others as well.
Sam Gillespie is a Sydney based music composer and computer programmer undertaking a PhD..
Sam Gillespie's archive of previous articles can be found at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sam-gillespie.html