How to be a true friend?

It’s easy for us to get along with other Christians but our mission, ultimately, is to reach out to others. This is exactly what Jesus did when He left heaven to be with us. We are called to do the same.

Adapted from “How to love the Unchurched” – Chapter 2 of Messy Church for Messy People book by Bo Sanchez

1. Meet others where they are at.

We all have to start somewhere. As human beings we all make mistakes, some greater than others, but no one is perfect. You will find that building the relationship with the young person is a key factor to helping them build that deep relationship with God. Even Jesus had broken friends! Peter, he was a coward; James and John had temper problems, Matthew was a traitor, Philip was indecisive, Thomas was cynical, Judas was a thief. Jesus was the holiest person and yet He was the most non-judgemental person in the world.

2. Be a friend to the lost.

You don’t always have to talk about ‘church-y things’. Just because young people might not be interested in the faith, or may not be living the most ‘Christian’ lifestyle, doesn’t mean they have any less dignity than you. Jesus did not hang out with saints. He spent a lot of time eating and spending time with people like prostitutes, drunkards and thieves. Because of this, he was criticized by the Pharisees; the religious leaders of his time. Sadly, many Christians today have the potential to be like those Pharisees – treating the sinner as an enemy by criticising and judging.

If you truly want to follow Jesus, you must allow a space in your groups and communities for the lost. In due time, they will realize God’s love for them.

3. Remember no one is perfect.

We often hear this reason why people leave the Church: “We left because Christians are self-righteous!” When we believe that another people’s sins are bigger than our sins, we become self-righteous. We forget how broken we are, just like everyone else! This is the very reason why we go to church. The church is not a community of perfect people but forgiven people.

4. Care first before confront.

You should never glorify sin. We should always speak truth. However, we should always be careful with what we say and speak truth within the context of a caring relationship. In your ministry, even if you’re right, no one will listen if they don’t trust you. They will automatically be defensive, and not listen to you.

Affirm the good in the young person. When you point out the good, they tend to keep doing that good. You will also find that when you correct them, they are more inclined to listen to you.

5. Allow God to do the changing.

Ultimately only God can change a young person’s heart. Allow God to do the changing. When faced with a challenging situation, instead of being the first to point out the young person’s sins, pray for them. You never know how God is working in their hearts, have faith! 🙂

Catholic Youth Ministry
Catholic Youth Ministry
Catholic Youth Ministry is the official agency supporting and promoting youth ministry in the Archdiocese of Perth. Our aim is to assist young adults to build a deep and lasting relationship with Jesus and to help them find their place in the Church and the world.