Friendships are not automatic. Just because you attend a church doesn’t mean you’ll have friends. You’ll meet a lot of friendly people, but that’s not the same thing as making a friend. Nothing is wrong with the church…some people mistakenly think that just because they show up, they’ll gain new friends. It doesn’t work like that. At best you’ll have acquaintances, but not friendships because friendships aren’t automatic. Friendships can be among the most rewarding and the most frustrating relationships in our lives. From Old to New Testament, the Bible is full of friendship stories and advice. We are told that friends love at all times (Proverbs 17:17), only wound us in ways that are trustworthy (Proverbs 27:6), are more loyal than family at times (Proverbs 18:24), provide mutual edification (Proverbs 27:17), can impart wisdom (Proverbs 13:20), and they may even sacrifice themselves for us (John 15:13). Friendship between children can be challenging no matter what, but church is different because of the limited amount of time kids spend there each week. As parents, we need to find things that we can do to help the situation.
Attend Church Consistently
Make sure you go to church every week and have the children attend Sunday school. If you only go to church monthly, it is going to be very hard for them to make real connections with other kids. The children who attend weekly are naturally going to know one another better and they might feel left out because the kids who are there may not seem to be as friendly. If your child consistently attends, the better chance he will have at getting to know the other kids and building friendships.
Know What Is Going On With Youth Ministry At Your Church
Investing in today’s youth is necessary in growing the body of Christ. Teaching young people in the church to grow in their relationship with the Lord prepares them to serve Christ in all they do. As a result, this nurtures the congregation and allows the church to flourish. Christian children need fellowship with other Christian children. Interaction with peers is very important. One veteran youth worker put it this way, “Friends are the very lifeblood of adolescence.” Church youth ministry must be a place where Christian young people can connect with other Christian young people. Most readers will remember the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3. One of the most interesting aspects of that story is that these three Israeli captives are always mentioned together. Undoubtedly it was easier for them to take this life-threatening stand for God because they did it together. The same principle applies to young people today. Godly young people need to know that there are other Christians out there who love the Lord and who are willing to take a stand for Him. Games are an essential part of any youth group. If games aren’t played, participation and attendance will quickly decline. Make games a part of almost every meeting. The kids will appreciate it and you’ll have a lot of fun, too. Youth groups can’t do mission work or games all of the time, but the youth need to be busy, or they are going to get bored. Almost every church has a youth group. Why not mix it up a little bit and have an activity with a neighboring church. Chances are the youth will know each other and have a good time. Make sure the youth group in your church is keeping the youth excited about serving Christ while having fun and forming friendships with one another.
Challenge Your Child To Be The One To Connect With Others
One of the coolest and most heartwarming things we see is children playing together, having fun, and laughing with joy. It’s a pleasant feeling when we see children playing together in unity. Remember that friendship is all about connection and emotional attachments. So, for our kids to have friends means that they are going to have to come to the playground with the most basic equipment: the ability to connect. The first way to teach your kids to have friends is to be an empathetic parent and to tune in to their emotional states, empathize with them, and meet their needs. This does two things. It shows them that a relationship is a good thing and helps them learn to like people. Secondly, it helps them build the skills of empathy and connection that they will then display to other children, and that forms the basis of friendship bonding. Friendship is one of the most important gifts that has been given to us. But we need to be taught the skills of being a friend. Your kids’ “play” is actually more than play — it is training for life.
Keep Your Priorities In Focus
As parents we bring our children to church to connect with God and learn more about Him. During the process, we hope they will make Christian friends. Sometimes if that does not happen you may have to remind your child that friends aren’t the main point. Yes, we also come to church to connect with other believers but do not be afraid to remind them to keep those priorities straight. Do not allow them to talk you into quitting church. Sometimes it is a better fit to try somewhere else, but make sure you have tried all the avenues we have suggested first. Navigating childhood friendships can be hard.
The Church needs to focus on retention if it desires to keep young people active, engaged, and involved within the Church body. The issue then is to vulnerably and honestly examine the current methods, programming, and participation rates of Gen Z children, teens, and young adults within local American churches.
About Jesus Love Temple
Evangelismania – We are a lively church focused on spreading the Gospel message into the entire world! Evangelismania was a term given to Pastor Shockley by God. It is a theme for our church’s strategy of…
- Taking every possible opportunity to share the gospel message of Jesus Christ to the lost.
- Taking every possible opportunity to invite someone to church
- Living a Christian life that shines the Light of Christ and supports church evangelism
- We believe God wants us to help those in need. At Jesus Love Temple YOU are important!
What We Do At Jesus Love Temple…