Take turns in your group to give the qualities of a good friend. (This may be good listening/fun to spend time with/trustworthy/honest etc.)
Talk about a funny moment you have shared with a friend.
Which groups of people do you spend most time with?
Why is it important to continue making friends?
Major Yvonne Field from Sale Corps shares her experience…
‘I took up horse riding three years ago when Ian, my husband, bought me six horse riding lessons for my 65th birthday. As a child I helped out at a local stable but could never afford lessons. Ian had no idea what he
had let himself in for giving me such a super gift! I now volunteer at the yard three days a week and look after Jay, a nineteen year old horse who belongs to the yard owner. Last year he asked me to ‘take her on’ which
meant giving lots of TLC and regular exercise. I love her to bits. In exchange, I do some yard jobs, make lots of brews for the staff and help out with the school ponies!
What is even more amazing is how God has opened an incredible door of opportunity of friendship and ministry.
Often I am asked questions about faith. I’ve been asked to pray for someone, I’ve listened while someone shares a concern, burden or anxiety. Some of the staff have attended our Christmas concerts at Sale too. I’m also told that the language at the yard has cleaned up somewhat since I’ve been around which is interesting as I’ve never reacted to the occasional colourful
expression! It’s challenging, thrilling and a great privilege to enjoy friendship with lovely people of all ages. God is good!’
How interesting that Yvonne, who is so well known in the Salvation Army for writing music has now taken to horse riding, cleaning out stables and helping in a pony school. What a change from the life of a Salvation
Army Officer. Yet what Yvonne has done is taken an opportunity and literally ‘ridden with it’.
As we grow older there is a danger that our circle of friends is smaller than it once was, due to leaving work colleagues, people moving home, maybe a reduced range of activities that you carry out etc.
Widening our circle of friends is not only good for us from the perspective of our own health and well-being as well as society, but it is what Jesus calls us to do as his disciples when he said,
How will we ever be able to fulfil the Great Commission if we only talk to those we have always talked to and never been brave enough to widen our friendship group? If we do not take the opportunity to make friends and tell people about Jesus we may actually be falling short of fulfilling the calling of God on our lives.
You may not take up horse riding, but there will be some way that you can widen your friendship group and meet new people. Yes, it is scary. For those of us who are introverts, starting a new group or going to a new place can be extremely hard, but in those moments remember Joshua 1:9:
Is it time to step out of the comfort zone and widen not only your circle of friends, but your circle of influence, your circle of mission, your circle of prayer, your circle of learning from others?
Through conversations Yvonne has made such an impact; people asking for prayer, coming to church and being careful not to use bad language. Let us always make time for conversation. It is exactly what Jesus did and he was great at making new friends and he surrounded himself with new people all the time. Jesus was always making new friends, from a tax collector to
a fisherman. So let us open our eyes, be like Jesus and look for opportunities to widen our circle of influence.
With grateful thanks to Major Yvonne Field (Rtd)
Think about your acquaintances, what needs to happen to start building meaningful relationships? Consider the following quotations:
‘Friendship is the hardest thing in the world
to explain. It’s not something you learn in
school. But if you haven’t learned the
meaning of friendship, you really
haven’t learned anything.’
‘Find a group of people who challenge
and inspire you; spend a lot of time with
them and it will change your life.’
Lord, help us to be brave and make new friends.
Help us to see not only how much we need others, but
how they need us also. You taught your first disciples
to live a life of love; now we ask for your help to do so
that others will come to know you and trust you.
Thank you for being the greatest friend of all. Amen
You will need a bag with a selection of random everyday objects in.