*originally posted at https://www.womendevotions.com/how-to-make-friends-in-a-new-church/
With Covid winding down many of us are heading back to church; and for many of you, it may even be a new church. No matter where you go, when it’s been awhile, going to church can be scary. You may feel isolated and alone. How are you to make friends in a place like this?
There are three solid ways to make friends at church: find a place to serve, join a small group and hang out in the lobby! Now, let’s take a look at how and why these things always work.
Find a Place to Serve
Serving is always a good way to make friends. Why? Because when you work elbow to elbow along somebody with a common goal, how can a relationship NOT form? When you’re working alongside somebody, you tend to share details of your lives, find commonality, and develop a deep respect for each other as you become acquainted with their heart and witness their invaluable work ethic first hand.
Not only that, but by default you’ll probably have common interests with those you serve alongside because you already know you share one common interest: serving! If you’re serving in the kitchen, you both obviously love to cook, or if you’re serving on worship team together, you both obviously love music! See what I’m saying? Serving is a no brainer way to find friends with whom you share common interests!
Join a Small Group
Joining a small group is another fantastic way to form relationships that will last a lifetime! When you join a small group, you make it a priority to spend intentional time two to four times a week with other people learning more about each other and God!
At my church, we call them LifeGroups. Our LifeGroups are groups of 8 to 12 people that gather in someone’s home once a week for 8 weeks at a time with one month breaks in between. The purpose is to grow closer to God and “do life together”. Our LifeGroups are sermon based so we use the time to dive deeper into whatever the topic of the most current Sunday sermon was. In doing that, we learn a lot about each other and the God we serve. Christians further along on their journey with Jesus help those just starting out by sharing experiences and answering questions, and those just starting their journey with the Lord remind us “old timers” what a joy and excitement it is to get to know Jesus.
We also use our LifeGroups to meet our needs in practical and tangible ways. When someone in our church has a need, we direct them to their LifeGroup (if they’re in one) before we direct them to the church staff. Whether it’s a financial need, a hospital visit, helping someone move, setting up a meal train or simply saying a prayer, your LifeGroup is there to serve you and in turn, experience you serving them as well. It’s a beautiful thing and so meaningful!
LifeGroups truly become family! There’s something so amazing about knowing you have a group of people you can go to no matter what, people who have your back and know you have theirs! If your church offers small groups, inquire about them today!
Hang Out in the Lobby
I don’t know why but this one makes me giggle. It seems so simple and obvious, I guess, yet so many of us walk straight from the parking lot into service and then dart right back out as soon as the closing prayer is said. May I discourage you from that?! Show up 15 minutes early and mingle in the lobby or in the cafe (if your church has one). Find someone you don’t recognize and walk up to them and ask “Forgive me if I have, but have I met you yet? I’m so and so…” If you have met say “oh! That’s right! So what do you think about this current sermon series? ” I mean honestly, ask whatever you want. Say whatever you want. Just open your mouth! This is important for many reasons:
- You should not expect your pastoral staff to do all the “meeting of people” in the lobby. This is YOUR church too! Act like it and take ownership!
- Constituents or guests will begin to believe that everyone who attends there cares about them; not just the staff.
- Your confidence will grow. Believe me; I always feel stupid striking up a conversation with someone I may or may not already know (who can remember in a church of 1500?) I always feel stupid if I have met them before like I’m some kind of snob but I simply laugh, apologize and move on in the conversation. Being REAL is better than being distant.
- The more you meet people over time, the more you’ll feel at home when you’re inside your church building! It’s like Cheers! You wanna go where everybody knows your name! “Hey, Norm!”
See: Romans 12:13
So there you have it. I hope the idea of making friends at a new church seems a little less daunting for you. If you’re brand spanking new, find a place to serve and join a small group. If you’ve been there for a month or two, hang out in the lobby before or after church. You’ll soon be more popular than you’d ever realized…or maybe even wanted to be. Ha!