The Importance of Friendship through Sunday School

by Mark Tolson 


“People are not looking for a friendly church, they are looking for friends.”


The statistics tell us that it takes seven “friends” for a person to stick at your church. You may think that this is an outrageous number, but think about how many people in your church that you have done activities with, gone out eat with at a restaurant, and/or had them over to your house for a game night or coffee. I am sure that you, like me, have found that you are connected in more than seven ways.


An equally important set of statistics tells us that 1 out of every 10 people who visit your church will stick even if they are never engaged in friendship but are just coming to a friendly church. They will come every Sunday morning and enjoy listening to the preacher. They love God and know they need to be in church. Let us not grow content with only reaching this 10% and forget about the 90% who don’t come back. There is a solution! 9 out of 10 people will return to your church if you engage them in friendship, have them over your house, go out to eat with them, show you care for them, talk over a cup of coffee with them, etc.


With these statistics being so alarming, isn’t there more we can do to reach out than simply living life? We should thing about inviting our neighbor to go with us. All it takes is an invitation. There is no guilt or pressure to invite someone out to eat or to go bowling, and when they realize their friends are going to church, they may want to come too.


One of my Chinese friends that I met through a “friendship program” at a local university (which everyone needs to sign up for) comes to church almost every week. But here is the crazy part—he doesn’t believe in God, yet he travels 2-3 hours to come every Sunday morning. He is coming just because of the friendship, but he is hearing the word of God preached every week and then we talk about it over lunch. Get the point?


People are lonely and searching for a community to fit into and I am sure you as a Christian already have a community. You get together with your friends after each church service for Chinese or Mexican food and talk about life. That’s great! Because you already have a community, there is no need to plan other activities. Just start inviting those you see in your church to go along with you; expand your group and circle of friends. (This doesn’t mean not to do activities, we must do them to get more people, but I simply mean an activity is not the only way to reach people. We need to simply turn everything we do into reaching people; this is uncomfortable and might mess up our plans, but we must do it.)


A family in the church was having a normal thanksgiving dinner, like many of us do, but they opened there family dinner up to have internationals over, in which 12 internationals came and joined in on what we were already doing. Many of them were able to hear our testimonies and also get the gospel.


This is why Sunday school is so important because it allows us to build relationships with those visiting our church and those outside our church and at the same time invite them to come and hear the Word of God preached in a formal setting. It is not a trick (like inviting friends over for dinner and then having a surprise bible study) but they know that they are coming to church and though it may only be for the friendship in the beginning, we pray they will get saved from the wrath to come in the end.


Let’s be in prayer over a few things:  

-May those investigating the claims of Christ not get a cold shoulder from those who claim Him as Christ.

-As we befriend the visitors of our church and the lost of this world, may it be that we can show the love of Christ, to glory of God, to see them soundly saved.

-Lord, help me to take action!



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