Equip: Community - Make a friend. Be a friend.
Where did you meet your 3 closest adult friends? Are they childhood or college friends? Relatives? Neighbors? A quick google search of “how to make friends as an adult” will reveal countless articles about the importance of adult friendships, the difficulty in making them, and ideas of where one might find this elusive unicorn.
Growing up, I avoided the concept of “women’s ministry” like the plague. I associated women’s ministry with all things mauve, ugly crafts and a whole lot of feminine drama for which I had neither the time nor inclination. When I was asked to lead a Women’s Bible Study in the early days of Mercy Hill Church, I admit, I did it somewhat begrudgingly. We started with some women’s Bible study books, and I tried to keep it low key on the “homework” front because I knew for myself, that if I was a part of a group and I hadn’t done my homework, I would just skip and stay home rather than face the shame of being unprepared. Eventually we transitioned to a much more laid back system of working through a book of the aBible verse by verse with no required outside reading. Not that there isn’t great value in systematic Bible study, but my heart’s desire was to provide a place where women could belong. Where they could meet and make friends, get involved in each others’ lives and support one another through prayer and through practical acts of service.
Over the years, I’ve been amazed at the level of transparency and vulnerability practiced by the women who attend in sharing their struggles and deepest prayer needs and the respect, care and discretion that is given in return. I think the greatest strength of the Women’s Community Group is in the area of prayer. I often joke that we are really a prayer group that also does some Bible study. The first place I turn for prayer (after contacting my parents) is to the Women’s Community Group. I know that whether I share a request in person or via the Facebook group, that my sisters will faithfully lift me up in prayer. It is so comforting to know that I’m not alone in this journey and that is why I continue to work in women’s ministry. My hope and prayer for every woman at Mercy Hill Church is that they would not walk this journey alone. Life is hard, the journey is long, we need friends to come alongside, to lift us in prayer, to encourage us when encouragement is needed, to correct when correction is needed and most of all, to just be there.
Where do you find adult friends? One of the best places is in church. However, real, significant relationships are not likely to happen on Sunday mornings as we breeze in and out. Relationships are formed through time and consistency, through discussion and sharing, in honesty and even vulnerability. It’s scary to walk into a group you’re not already a part of, I get it, I’m not a huge fan of it myself, but without risk, there is no reward. I encourage you, if you’re not a part of a community group, join one. Go more than once. Go regularly. Invest your time. Share your life. Make a friend and be a friend.