Most churches offer a variety of ministries, and it’s very fulfilling to choose something that interests you and to take an active role in it. If you do it with a friend, it’s an even richer experience because you have someone with whom to enjoy yourself, and you’ll also support each other when needed.
The Bible points out the importance of having someone close to us for support:
For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow; but woe to him who is alone when he falls, and doesn’t have another to lift him up. —Ecclesiastes 4:10
Here are some examples of ministries that you can join with a friend. Some are just for fun, while others go into a deeper level of service where support from another person is critically important:
Small Group Ministry
Many churches have small social groups centered around a common interest. It might be a group for singles, young parents or people who share a love of something like reading, cooking or whatever else you can imagine. These ministries are enjoyable because you’re in the company of like-minded people. They’re a great place to make new friends, but they’re also a good spot to solidify your existing friendships.
If you belong to a large church or one that has multiple services, you may not know the majority of your fellow congregants. It can be intimidating to join a group of strangers, even if you share an interest and have a common bond through your church. Joining with a friend eases things along because you know there’s at least one friendly face.
Most churches have Bible study classes, and this is another great ministry to join with a friend. It’s always good to study God’s Word in a group setting, where you get multiple perspectives on what it means and how that knowledge can be applied to life.
Doing Bible study with a friend gives you an opportunity to extend your learning beyond the class. Afterward, you can go out for coffee together and talk in more depth about what you learned. Did you both get the same meaning from the week’s reading? If not, chat about what you each think and why you hold that view.
Joining Bible study with a friend also keeps you on track and encourages you to attend regularly. You’re not as likely to blow off the class when you know your friend expects you to be there. You can even drive together as additional encouragement (and a way to save gas).
Many churches have a Stephen Ministry program. It’s an important hands-on ministry that trains lay men and women to support others emotionally and spiritually. They lend a sympathetic ear to fellow members of the church who are having personal problems or going through rough times.
Joining Stephen Ministry involves several weeks of training. It’s nice to have a friend with whom to go through the classes. You can practice the techniques you learn, like active listening skills, on each other between the classes. This extra practice builds your confidence for the time when you start your hands-on service.
Once you start working with a person in crisis, your discussions with that person are confidential. However, you’ll receive a lot of general peer support from your fellow Stephen Ministers. When you have a friend working in the same ministry, it gives you another outlet. Group support is good, but help from a friend is more personal because you know each other so well.
Mission work can be local, like serving food at a homeless shelter, doing a volunteer shift fielding phone calls at a battered women’s shelter or holding a clothing drive for needy kids. It can also involve a trip to a nearby country or a place halfway around the world.
You may want to go on a mission trip, but feel a little intimidated. Even though you’re there with a group of people from your church, it’s still a daunting idea. If you’re new to this type of ministry, you won’t know what to expect. Sure, you might have seen slideshows and videos from previous trips, but actually visiting a poverty-stricken village and working hands-on among its people isn’t even close to watching images flicker on a screen. Going on a mission trip with a friend adds a degree of familiarity.
No matter what you encounter, you’re both in it together. It eases the way when you can face the unknown and tackle challenges as a team.