As a ministry wife, I spend a lot of time with my church. If I’m not at church, I’m thinking about church, praying for church, or planning for church. God has even blessed me with a few good friends at church (real friends, the kind that can see your messy-house, no-makeup, bad-hair days).
These friends from church are very important to me. They share ministry passions, particularly my interest in serving those who are living below the poverty level. They encourage and support me. Sometimes, they watch my toddler so my husband and I can have a date night without paying for a babysitter (a bigger blessing than they realize). They pray for me, go out to eat with me, and serve with me.
But because I am in a season of staying at home with my son, I could find it very easy to let my relationships at church be the only ones that I have. Anyone who meets me would quickly agree that I am an introvert. I have been accused of being unapproachable, of not liking people, and of being standoffish.
The truth is that I have to work at meeting new people. I have never liked being the center of attention, and it’s just so much easier for me to hide in a corner than engage an entire room.
But I am learning that, in order to fulfill the Great Commission that Jesus gave us in Matthew 28:18-20, I need to expand the reach of my friendships to include people outside of church. And after a lot of praying and much trial and error on my part, God has graciously placed a few new friends in my path.
These women enrich my life in ways that are different from my church friends. They challenge me to bring my faith to the table. They are from different backgrounds and cultures. But God is showing me that He can bridge the differences.
If you are an introvert like me, can I encourage you today that this really is possible? Building friendships takes work and intentionality, and will not happen without a little effort on our part. But it is so worth it. And it is one way that God uses us in Kingdom work.
Regardless of your personality, as you evaluate your friendships, are there women outside of your church whom you can befriend? When we stay in our church cliques, we neglect the Great Commission, are never challenged to defend our faith, and miss out on relationships that can bless our lives.
I am praying about some specific ways I can deepen these friendships. I want to challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and make a new friend this month. Lasting friendships take time, but each begins with a simple gesture. How can you reach out to someone new today?
Published November 13, 2014