When I talk with Sunday School classes about developing relationships some of them look back at me with a funny look. I can hear what they are saying through their facial expressions. “I’m too busy to make new friends; they are going to take up all my time or I don’t want someone to know everything about me.” Developing friendships at church really does scare some folks.
I think our people feel like they are going to be required to spend every moment with their new church friends or even worse to them is the idea that all my dirty little secrets are now going to be known by everybody.
Let me help you by saying that it is not that bad and becoming friendly with folks at church is really not that hard. To make lasting friendships that are really deeper than the small talk we share at church, just remember that there are four things you got to know.
- First, you’ve got to know their name. People really do love to hear their name. Recently I was praying with one of my new friends and during the prayer time I mentioned his name in the prayer. After the prayer he said, “It’s been 20 years since I heard my name in a prayer.”
- Second, you got to know the names of those in their family. I’m not talking about their fourth cousin living in Brooklyn. You’ve got to know the names of the family members that live together.
- Third, you’ve got to know their joys. What is that they love to do,
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what are their hobbies, what do they spend their resources on? I love baseball. I love to watch baseball, I love to talk baseball. I also love to go camping with my family. I could talk to you all day about baseball and camping. I would also guess that there is someone out there that likes the same things I like.
- Fourth, you have got to know their hurts. All of us have hurts. All of us have something that has our attention. It may be an aging parent, it may be a rebellious child, and it may be our employment situation. It does not have to be anything major. It could be putting a new screen door on at the house or your daughter’s piano recital. You need to know what has your member’s attention.
If you want people to know you really care then you’ve got to know those four things about them. Now for the hard part; if you are going to let people get to know you, you’ve got to let them know those four things in your life!
Another note to teachers: If you don’t know the above four things about all your class members, it is time for you to start a new class!