Friendship Ministries small groups are an invitation for everyone to come TOGETHER and worship God. Though each Friendship Group is its own community, it’s not often our network of groups can come together in fellowship.
In the spirit of community, we asked various Friendship Groups across the country to share a story for others groups to hear. Read from 4 Friendship Group leaders to learn how they like to worship TOGETHER.
Beverely (Pennsylvania, United States)
Our Friendship Ministry group has existed since about 1989 (I still have and use slides and transparencies to prove it!) and is attended by mostly people who live in group homes in our area and have 24 hr care. We have at least 30 members that attend on a weekly basis but are a group of at least 60 if everyone is counted. We affectionately refer to our group as our church’s 7th and best campus.
One of the outstanding features of our Sunday gatherings is that we worship for 45 minutes with our own worship team. Several members of the class lead their favorite songs and all that attend are encouraged to engage by playing rhythm instruments, joining the worship team and suggesting songs. We also play a contemporary dance video to include more dance and movement in our worship time. Some of our favorite videos to dance to are Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” Mercy Me’s “Happy Dance,” and Toby Mac’s “Everything.”
We really appreciate the Friendship Ministry Team and the continually updated study resources for our message time. Our volunteers just love being a part of a group that is made up of all God’s best! He brings us together and gives each person a sense of belonging and gives us a chance to experience our gifts. What makes my day at Friendship is discovering gifts that group members have so that we can help them engage more fully in our group! Thank you Friendship Ministries Team!
Jan (Michigan, United States)
We have 32 members and have just celebrated our 20th Anniversary. Our group loves to participate in various social gatherings as well as Bible study. Annually we have a joint meeting with another Friendship group in our area and that is always a special night.
I have been involved with Friendship for the past 5 years and this past year have been the chair or “lead” person. I always encourage someone not familiar with Friendship to check us out and see what we do. If they do, they’ll go home with a smile that hurts!
Judy (Michigan, United States)
We have 6 Friends & 6 Mentors. We meet as a Sunday School class after our morning service. 4 of our Friends are from our church and 2 are from a neighboring group home.
We enjoy using the TOGETHER lessons. The group loves the videos, Take Home cards, and dramas. We all sit around a large table and have great interactions—singing, praying, and discussing the lessons. We only have 45 minutes to meet, so we spend 2 weeks on each lesson. Marcia is our story & discussion leader while I manage the music and the video parts. Anita leads prayer time & Joanne handles crafts. I’m thankful we can continue Friendship this way because 3 years ago we were without a leader. We lost Friends that moved and almost decided to quit, but our Pastor met with our staff and encouraged us. That’s when we came up with the idea of a Sunday School class.”
Renee (Michigan, United States)
For 37 years our Friendship group has been a welcoming and loving community for both Mentors and Friends who together share a love for Christ. In spite of feeling tired and wishing to stay home, everyone shows up and leaves with a smile on their faces thinking, “I’m so glad I came.”
Besides watching the wonderful relationships grow between friends and mentors and seeing how the Friends’ gifts have blossomed in unique ways, I personally have enjoyed rewriting much of the curriculum beginning with 2000 and adapting it to our own program.
Karen (Ontario, Canada)
The people who come and attend our Friendship group each week bring so much joy. Because of our faith and love it brings joy to teach them about the love of God our Father through his Son Jesus Christ.
We can have anywhere from 25-30 people each week. We start with singing and our Friends love to sing and choose their favourite songs.
We have a lesson then a craft /game and always a snack at the end. At the end of the lesson they share what they are thankful for and who they want us to pray for. It is so heartwarming to see their enthusiasm each week. When we break for the summer, Friends are always asking me when the group will start again… they never tire of attending. God is good!
Our inclusive Bible study materials are meant for people of all abilities. Try out one of our latest studies, Jesus: Face to Face, for free! Use code INTHISTOGETHER at checkout to start worshipping TOGETHER!