4. Get involved in a ministry.
Again, I’m showing my small-church bias here. In a larger church, ministry opportunities may not be as readily available. Maybe they are. Regardless, you begin to make the church community your own by rolling up your sleeves and getting involved, taking ownership of an area where you can apply your unique set of gifts and talents. And in many cases, you get a chance to work alongside someone you may not know. Perhaps it’s folding bulletins or maybe it’s working on a church project.
Last year, we remodeled the outside of our building. Many of our guys came out to work on Saturdays—as a result, we got to know each other very well and developed deeper friendships. Many who work in our children’s ministries have said the same thing—they’ve had the chance to get to know and make friendships as they’ve worked alongside others.
Plus, by serving in whatever capacity you are gifted and wherever there is a need, you demonstrate to the church body that you care about them, that you’re not just at church to receive but to give, that the welfare of the church matters to you. So much so that you’re willing to give time and effort to ensure the community is served.
5. Know and pray over the needs of others.
Do you pray for the people of your church? Do you know what to pray for? In order to pray rightly for your brothers and sisters, we actually need to know what their needs are. And to receive intercessory prayer, we need to be a bit vulnerable and share our own needs with others. Every church has a different mechanism for prayer requests. You have the formal lists that go out via email and other forms—we should take these seriously and pray for them.
But you might also find that person who sits next to you at church this coming Sunday and just lean over and say, “Is there anything I can pray about for you today?” And perhaps if you’re having a difficult season, you might ask someone in church to pray for you. Open up a bit and say to them, “Hey, I could use some prayer—would you mind praying with me?”
I’ve found this to be a vital part of my own spiritual life. I have several folks in the church that pray for me specifically. I’ve had moments where I’ve pulled in a brother and said, “Hey can we pray over this really quickly?” And I’ve had brothers and sisters pull me in and ask for prayer. Something powerful happens in a friendship when you pray together.