What does worshipping TOGETHER look like? It’s a meeting point where people of all abilities know that they belong. Similarly, Friendship Groups reflect the diversity represented among their members. Some groups are older; some groups are new. Some groups like to sing; others prefer crafts. There is no right or wrong way to participate in a Friendship Group.
Below, you’ll find a variety of stories from 5 Friendship Leaders, showing that there are so many awesome ways we can worship TOGETHER!
Donald (Illinois, United States)
A “typical” Wednesday night usually involves a specially designed lesson tied into the Christian liturgical year. We follow this with a large group activity such as singing, puppet shows, performances by visiting artists, etc. We are blessed with great volunteers—especially when they put their cell phones away!
Deb (Ontario, Canada)
I love our Friendship Club. I lead the singing and it is so much fun. I always look forward to going. I feel like all the leaders that are involved really WANT to be there and that makes a big difference in the atmosphere. Everyone is accepted for who they are and I don’t know how else to say it but I just “fit” there! I think there are about 20 people plus about 7 leaders.
Even if it has been a bad day and I don’t really feel like going out, once I get there, I am always glad. I find myself smiling almost instantly. It seems like it is that way for almost everyone who comes—Friends and Mentors!
Tanya (Washington, United States)
Our Friendship group loves to worship God and is very loving and caring toward each other. We have 2 classes of adults that meet at the same time twice a month. The first group has about 33 friends and has used the book series that’s just been discontinued. The second group has about 5 friends and they use the TOGETHER series online.
Each summer we’ve had tickets donated to us so we can all attend a local baseball game together in the evening. It’s such a fun social activity to enjoy together, and there’s usually a great turn out! The activity our friends start excitedly asking about when Friendship starts in September is our annual Christmas program. Their families, friends and caregivers are invited. The best part is that it draws in people who otherwise might not come to church.
I love being a part of this group because of the energy and joy each friend brings when we meet. They truly are glad to be meeting together and to be learning about and worshipping God.
Allyson (Houston, United States)
At Tallowood, the majority of our main ministry happens on Sunday morning. We also hold several respite nights each year and a special needs Vacation Bible School. Our learners also enjoy serving by leading on an Advent Sunday morning each season, packaging rice and beans annually for local mission organizations, and packing care boxes for seafarers that come into the Port of Houston each December. We believe that everyone is made to serve God and others in his name, and are always looking for ways we can do that!
On Sunday mornings, we have approximately 25 regular attending learners ranging from age 6-35, and have 5 self-contained Bible classes. We also have a couple of high school teens that attend the typical Sunday morning youth programming with a buddy. Our self-contained children’s classes follow a schedule and use PCSs to guide our class rule time (ways to love God & love others), to worship in singing, have prayer time, work on bible verses, and reading our bible stories. We also use Ablenet recording buttons to enable everyone, even our non-verbal learners, an opportunity to be fully involved.
Our ministry is passionate about taking God’s word and making it accessible for all of our learners, passionate about befriending and loving our learners and their families, and always on the hunt to discover our friends gifts and ways they can serve. I am deeply, hugely, wildly blessed to be a part of this ministry!
Nancy (Indiana, United States)
When we first started our group, no one ever wanted to read, talk, or pray. Now everyone wants a turn reading the Bible (even those who can’t read without a lot of help), participating in skits, participating in the discussion, and praying for each other! We recently started making Blessing Bags to give out to hospital visits and shut-in visits. We color on or write a verse or encouraging message on a white paper bag, and fill it with a cool napkin, some hot chocolate packages, some individually packaged cookies or snacks, individual packages of tissues, some verses we colored, and different seasonal items. It has been fun to put these together and we’ve gotten some great thank-you’s from the people who have received them.
We hope these stories from our Friendship Group leaders have given you some fresh new ideas for your Friendship Group or even inspired you to start your own. Explore some tips and resources for leaders here.