Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Looking for a Friendly Church?

This thought comes via Tol Burk's blog post, "People don't want a friendly church?," on

Burk preaches the gospel in the Eastern Caribbean. According to reports on the blog, he's moving to San Juan, Puerto Rico within the month and will be preaching for two churches there.

Burk stated: "People don’t want a friendly church. They want a friend."

When you first read his question, you're inclined to say, "What? I though churches are supposed to be friendly."

While true, Burk has a larger point to make. He agrees that people desire a friendly church. But the act of being kind to the visitor or new member should be the starting point for a God-inspired relationship.

To be effective, that friendship must be carried out the front door of the church building and into homes. We need churches where members spend time together. That, Burk emphasises, is time spent away from the assembly hall.

A wise preacher once made this point:
A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
Solomon is right. We need friends who stick close to each other. These are friends who'll remain through thick and thin, in times of joy and in times of hurt.

I agree with Burk's assessment of friendship:

They may work together, they will certainly worship together and they will also do fun things together. They may go out to eat, have a picnic, put on a fish fry, play games or just sit and talk.
I personally treasure the time I spend with my brothers and sisters in Christ. You can't develop the deep personal relations in the four to five hours at the building each week. You must carry that friendship into the homes.

Although there are many aspects of friendship, I believe the key point is the assistance that we give each other in our lives.

Friends are constantly praying for each other. They share hurting moments. Friends support each other during times of tribulation. And they offer a hand in times of need.

"Are you willing to make the commitment to be a friend to a new Christian, or a new member or family in the congregation?" concluded Burk. "They will benefit, but so will you."

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