I have noticed something about our teens lately that is quite encouraging: they are not ashamed of us.
Going to church, singing spiritual songs, being among so many adults, this is not exactly cool. Yet every week I see one or more of our teens bring a friend of theirs to church. This tells me that they are not afraid to acknowledge their Lord; they love and respect their youth minister enough to introduce their friends to him; and all in all they must think that the rest of us are okay since they are not worried that we will embarrass them in front of their guests. Of course, they are not the only ones who bring friends to church, I see many others who do so and I encourage you to continue inviting your friends and family to church.
Today, I would like to make a couple suggestions for those who have friends that they regularly bring to worship services. Bringing them to church is a great first step, but to this step you need to add a few other things in order to help their faith to ignite and grow.
1. Make sure your conduct outside the church building is the same as your conduct inside the church building.
If it is not, your poor conduct outside the church will merely reinforce the widely held concept that Christians are hypocrites in your friend's mind.
2. Let your friend know that the church is your first priority.
If you are with your friend when you should be in church; when you are in places with your friend that you know church people ought not to be; you are showing your friend that church is not really that important, that God's word does not really mean what it says. If church is important to you, your friend will grow to respect that and hopefully want this as a priority in life as well.
3. Be concerned for your friend's spiritual life, not just your friendship.
True friends want what is best for each other. For example, if you find a bargain, you want to share it. If you discover a great new song, movie, restaurant, you want your friend to experience it also.
If Jesus Christ is at work changing your life, transforming your character, filling your heart with peace, joy, confidence, knowledge, would you not want your friend to have all of these things too?
Your friend will eventually find out that spiritual things are important for you, your firend also needs to find out that their spiritual well-being is important for you as well.
There are ways of demonstrating this to them:
- Let them know that you are praying for them, and are willing to pray for specific needs in their life.
- Continue to invite your friend to church so that they feel comfortable here and begin to develop other friendships with Christians.
- Love your friend with Christian love that is pure, kind, forgiving, fair and generous. They know Christ by experiencing His love in you.
- Invite your friend to study the Bible with you. The word of God is most powerful when it comes from the lips of a friend. It is in a Bible study with you or you and another person where the key issues of salvation will come up and your friend will be brought to the point of decision whether to accept Christ or not.
It is not enough to bring your friend to church; you have to bring your friend to Christ if they are to be saved.
If your friend has brought you here and taught you the gospel why not obey Jesus and repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins.
If you have not been a good friend because you have neglected to tell your friends about Jesus, neglected to make an effort to try to win them for Christ, why not repent of that now and begin being a better friend in this area.
If you have been unfaithful to your best friend, Jesus Christ you may need to be restored to Him.