Lawrence and Olivia would not consider themselves great neighbors, but they felt they were friendly. One morning they discussed how they could improve and concluded that they should make a
better effort at being friendly. Later that month Olivia noticed a moving van at the house across the street. Having baked a couple of loaves of banana bread that morning, she and Lawrence decided to greet the new couple moving in. “Good morning,” Lawrence said to the exhausted couple who were obviously resting from moving heavy items. “I am Larry, and this is my wife Olivia. We wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood.” Olivia offered a warm smile and the loaf of bread.
Embarrassed by the attention, but glad to be treated warmly the lady answered, “I am Sue and this is Andy, but we are not moving in. Andy has a job offer closer to our parents and we are moving after living here for seven years.”
I wonder how many times that scenario plays out, not just in neighborhoods, but also in churches. Do we really know the people we assemble with? Do we know who is a guest and who is a member? Do we know their names?
Here are some suggestions on being a friend, especially in a church setting:
- Look for unfamiliar people while you are greeting friends before and after assemblies.
- Find an opportunity to greet those you do not recognize. Introduce yourself.
- Find common ground by asking questions and listening to their answers. Use those commonalities as the center of conversation.
- When you ask their name, listen and repeat it so that you know you heard correctly, this also helps you remember them.
- Introduce them to others who share their likes and lifestyle.
- Be earnest in your friendliness.
- Be a friend!