Out of a personal need and desire to develop more meaningful friendships, I decided to make one of my goals for 2015 : “Build Better Friendships”. I started thinking of ways I could grow new friendships and how I could nurture the ones that I already had, and out of that brainstorming came something I currently call THE FRIENDSHIP MINISTRY.
Over the last couple years I’ve dabbled a little bit into this “ministry”, but I’d really like to make it a priority this year. I just have this desire to do this, and it won’t go away!
I want to invest TIME into my friends and my friendships. I feel like I’m so busy sometimes and I know that my friendships suffer from that. I want to be the type of friend who is thoughtful, and caring, and loving. I want to do things for my friends, and not do it for praise, but do it out of love for that person. God just wants us to LOVE each other, and I think that if I show my friends this type of love – they will (hopefully) pay it forward to their other friends, who will hopefully pay if forward to THEIR other friends, and so on. When I think about the possibility of people making an effort and investing LOVE and time into their friendships, I can’t help but think about how much love would surround us all.
Over the past 2 years I’ve been able to do some trial runs and to tweak my approach a little bit. I’m such a planner and a person who has to put things on paper. I realize that I end up doing more planning than actual doing. I want this to be something that I can do easily and still maintain the thoughtfulness and love that goes along with it. I need to be realistic that I live a busy life, and so do others, and I can’t over plan or over do myself, or the entire thing will suffer.
For this year I picked a handful of friends who I wanted to be better friends to. There are some friendships that just need regular tending to in order to grow. (really all friendship are like this) I took some friends who I’d like to get to know a little better, or build stronger relationships with, and I made those people my “friendship ministry list” for 2017. I needed a little participation from these people this year, so I sent out a questionnaire (don’t laugh) of random questions about things they liked and didn’t like. This was to give me an idea of what this person’s interests are, and as I go throughout the year it will really help me know of ways I can bless them. Some people participated, and some didn’t, and that’s totally OK! Having some open slots is a great thing to have, because I may see someone as the year goes by that I could add to my list. You never know who God is going to place in your path!
There are some things I’d like to do for these friends as we go throughout the year. We will all face different things in our live this year, and I’m praying that God will open my eyes to what needs these friends may have, and how I can step up and be someone who can bless them.
PRAY | I’d like to regularly pray for these friends this year. Pray through good times and bad, pray for things that only God knows, pray for ways I can show them love and encouragement.
ENCOURAGE, UPLIFT, INSPIRE | If they are going through hard times, I’d like to be there to encourage and uplift them. If they are trying to fulfill a dream, I want to be there to inspire them and motivate them. If they are reaching goals or celebrating accomplishments, I want to celebrate with them and let them know how proud I am of them.
COMPLIMENT AND BLESS | I’d love to be able to text a friend who’s recipe I cooked for dinner and just let them know I was thinking of them and how much our family enjoys it. I’d love to be someone who makes a point to tell them how nice they look, or how much I love their haircut, or how much I treasure their friendship. I’d love to be walking through the grocery store and see a treat I know my friend will like, and send it to them. I just want to put a smile on their faces and to remind them that they are loved and appreciated.
CELEBRATE THEIR BIRTHDAY | I would love to do more than just say “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” on Facebook (because it reminded me to). I hope to look into the month ahead and see who’s birthdays are coming up. Make a point to send them a birthday card, or a starbucks gift card, or something FUN and festive and THOUGHTFUL. It’s so much more fun to see “Happy Birthday” written on something you can hold and keep.
THANK YOU NOTES | I know that writing thank you notes to those who have done things for you during the month is so important. It’s something that isn’t done very often, and going that little extra mile, putting in the effort, to write out THANK YOU and some nice words can really brighten someones day. I feel like this is sort of a lost art, and I hope to bring it back for myself. This isn’t just for people on my “list”. I will send a thank you note to anyone who I feel deserves one this year!
The main thing I want to do, is LEAD BY EXAMPLE. Be the friend I want others to be to me. Start a legacy of kindness and be someone who puts value on my friendships. Hopefully this will inspire others to pass this type of thing on to their friends in return. Imagine a world where friends were constantly praying for each other, encouraging each other, building each other up, inspiring each other, complimenting each other, congratulating each other, celebrating each other, and making them feel loved “just because”. The blessings would absolutely overflow.