Intersection of Life and Faith

10 Things You Might be Doing Wrong if You Have No Friends at Church

  • Rhonda Stoppe Speaker and Author
10 Things You Might be Doing Wrong if You Have No Friends at Church

After moving out of state, we visited churches where I longed to find new friends. A sense of rejection washed over me whenever people would shake my hand and then, without any attempt to know me personally, turn and walk away. I soon learned if I wanted friends, I needed to take steps toward building relationships.

After I got over my pity party and stopped blaming others for not being friendly, I discovered my focus had been wrong. I learned how taking my eyes off of myself and looking to Jesus––the friend who sticks closer than a brother––enabled me to be friendly because my motivation became loving others with Christ’s love rather than gaining friendships for my own satisfaction.

Can you relate to my story? Have you ever felt like you have no real friends at church? While it is nice when others reach out, you would be wise to realize that most people have a hard time striking up new friendships. So rather than resenting their lack of effort, how about you take the initiative toward building lasting friendships? Let’s look at 10 things you might be doing wrong if you have no friends at church. Ask yourself:

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    Slide 1 of 10

    When one surrenders their heart to Jesus as Lord and Savior, God puts His Spirit into their heart––the same Spirit He gives to all who are His. In love for Christ and for one another, God knits together the hearts of Christians. If you’ve never turned from your sin to follow Jesus––as opposed to simply attending church––you will feel like an outsider because Christ’s Spirit is not within you. 

    If you are interested in understanding the difference between merely being a church attender as opposed to having a genuine relationship with Jesus, please visit me at NoRegretsWoman.com to request: How to Have a Relationship with Jesus.

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    2. Is there sin you need to confess?

    Slide 2 of 10

    Maybe you are a Christian but you still can’t seem to connect with God’s people. Evaluate if there’s any unconfessed sin in your heart that might be the problem. For example, in 18 years of youth ministry we observed when teens who fell into sin became less involved with the group, complaining to parents that they had no friends at church. Unwisely, the parents allowed them to stop attending church––rather than discerning if their child’s isolation was a result of some sinful choices. 

    Habitual unconfessed sin quenches the Spirit in your heart and can make you feeling alienated from other Believers. Jesus said, “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye” (Luke 6:41). So, before you resent others who don't make you feel welcome, take some time to ask God if you need to turn away from any sin in your own life.

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    3. Do you engage?

    Slide 3 of 10

    Once you’ve evaluated your heart, you’re ready to discern ways you may be inadvertently sending people the message you don’t want them to talk to you. Body language is crucial to make others feel comfortable to approach you. While it is tempting to pull out your phone to avoid feeling awkward, your eyes glued to your screen will tell others you’re not interested in building relationships. 

    Don’t wait for people to approach you. Realize most people are intimidated to walk up to someone they don’t know. Just like you, they worry what to say or how they’ll be received. Rather than waiting, ask God for courage to show yourself friendly to people. Make it a point to look others in the eye, smile and say, “Hello.” These may seem like elementary principles but you’d be surprised how many people have no idea how their body language isolates them.

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    4. Are you easily offended?

    Slide 4 of 10

    If you are one who is easily offended, don’t be surprised if people avoid getting too close for fear they’ll hurt your feelings. Consider how holding onto an offense will divide you from others.

    Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them.” If you tend to get hurt easily, the way to rise above offense is to fall more in love with God’s Word. The more time you spend studying Scripture, the less you’ll pick up offenses. As you study, ask God to grow your love for Christ so you can enjoy peace with God and fellowship with others.

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    5. Do you arrive late and leave early?

    Slide 5 of 10

    You will never make friends at church if your habit is to rush into church just before it starts and scurry out the door at the final “Amen.” Developing friendships takes time, so make yourself available by arriving early or staying after service to visit.

    A great way to make people feel comfortable when they make the effort to talk to you is to ask them questions about themselves––and then listen carefully to their response. Don’t be the person who always talks about yourself, your problems, and accomplishments. You’ll never feel close to others if you don’t learn to graciously listen to know them better.

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    6. Are you part of a small group?

    Slide 6 of 10

    In ministry, it’s frustrating to listen to someone say they can’t engage with people at church, yet they’re unwilling to attend Sunday school or a small group Bible study. I have even created small groups for women who have complained they can’t connect, only to have them come once or twice––or not at all. 

    Attending a small group is the best way to listen to people share with the group and discover others who you may want to get to know better. When I was a young wife and mother who was desperate for godly mentors, it was in women’s Bible study that I found a wealth of wisdom and friendship with older women. Those friendships were a pivotal in my growth as a believer.

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    7. Do you get involved?

    Slide 7 of 10

    Your church likely puts on a number of functions throughout the year. Sadly only about 10 percent of churchgoers regularly volunteer to help in ministry. Take a moment to evaluate your own involvement in the church you attend. When was the last time you volunteered to help?

    If you look longingly at a group whose hearts seem to be knit tightly together, I’ll bet those people are the core group of volunteers in your church. Serving alongside of others is the best way for God to knit your hearts together. So, ask God to show you where He would have you serve.

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    8. Are you hospitable?

    Slide 8 of 10

    Hospitality is a critical component to building relationships. Inviting others to your home is a great way to be friendly. While planting a church in Texas, every week we opened our home for youth group. In one summer, the group grew to 200 teens who ate hotdogs with ketchup on our white carpet and furniture. While the house got trashed, kids got saved.

    I’ve never regretted using our home for ministry. In 35 years of ministry my mantra has been: “People over possessions.” And God has been faithful to bless our hospitality, and He will bless yours too. If you don't invite people over for fear something might get broken, it’s time to evaluate your priorities. 

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    9. Can you be trusted?

    Slide 9 of 10

    Do you lose your temper and unleash harsh words upon others? Once you’ve done this to someone, don’t be surprised if they pull away in fear that it may happen again. 

    Are you known for revealing other’s secrets, or are you one who loves a good piece of gossip?  Proverbs 20:19 instructs: “Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a simple babbler.” Is it possible people in church avoid you because they are not wanting to get drawn into the sinful act of gossip?

     

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  • 1. Do you have a relationship with Jesus?

    10. Have you prayed for God to lead you to friends?

    Slide 10 of 10

    Jesus said the world will know we are His disciples when they see our love for one another (John 13:35). So you can know God is interested in helping you build loving relationships in the church. 

    James 4:2 says, “You do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss.” Rather than asking God to give you friends so you feel better about yourself or don’t feel awkward at church, ask Him to help you be a friend to others. When the Spirit guides you to relationships that glorify Christ, you will enjoy friendships that honor God and will last a lifetime. And I promise you won’t regret it!

     

    Rhonda Stoppe is a pastor’s wife, speaker, and author. As the NO REGRETS WOMAN, Rhonda has more than 20 years experience of helping women live life with no regrets. Through humor, and honest communication, she helps women build NO REGRETS LIVES by applying sound teaching from Scripture. Rhonda appears on radio programs, speaks at women’s events, MOPs, and homeschool conventions throughout the nation. Rhonda Stoppe’s book Moms Raising Sons to be Men is mentoring thousands of moms to guide sons toward a no-regrets life. Her new book If My Husband Would Change, I’d Be Happy: And Other Myths Wives Believe is helping countless women build no-regrets marriages. 

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