What Makes a Friendly Church?


Some churches would identify themselves as a friendly church while visitors say otherwise. The discrepancy comes, in large part, from the criteria being used.

Criteria Some Use to Claim Their Church is Inviting and Friendly

Some think that because they have helpful parking lot attendants and greeters at the door, people’s first impressions must be that this is a friendly church. Maybe they have a welcome center and/or kiosk stations to take away some discomfort of people not knowing what to do or where to go. To make people feel even more welcome, they’ll have a designated time to greet one another in the service. To provide time to get to know people better, they may even add a coffee hour or shop and/or a hospitality room or fellowship hall to meet and greet.

These Factors Alone Don’t Give Off the Impression of a Friendly Church

We may see nothing wrong with the above strategies in and of themselves. These acts of hospitality can be quite helpful. But, programmed acts of kindness should never be a substitute for real body life that leads to spontaneous acts of friendship that come from the heart.

God designed the Church to function with everybody doing their part (Eph. 4:16) to make everyone feel welcomed, loved, and accepted as seen in so many of the “one another” commands of Scripture (Rom. 12:5, 10; 13:8; 15:7; 16:16; 1 Cor. 12:25; Eph. 4:32; 1 Pet. 4:9). When we are who we should be as a church, His Body, we will relate with people in ways that make them feel like they belong.

A Better Criteria to Determine Friendliness

So, let’s look through our tactics again and see what also needs to be there for a truly friendly church.

Helpful Parking Lot Attendants?

What about members who give you the right of way or let you back out of your parking spot without an attendant having to tell them to?

Greeters at the Door?

What about an awareness of people’s presence throughout their visit, not just when they arrive … like people making eye contact and saying “hello” as they walk the halls rather than look right through you?

Welcome Center?

What about members who are not on the hospitality committee coming up to a visitor and helping them find their way?

Kiosk Stations?

What about going to people and personally inviting them to get involved rather than expecting them to always take the first step?

Designated Time to Greet One Another in the Service?

What about members greeting people outside of their normal circle of friends before and after the service without having to be told to greet one another?

A Coffee Hour or Coffee Shop?

What about a body who is able to stay and mingle without the coffee incentive?

Hospitality Rooms & Fellowship Halls to Meet and Greet?

What about churches who make it hard for people not making their way to these rooms to slip out the door unnoticed … without at least a few people greeting them before they leave?

Seriously, who wouldn’t rate churches with spontaneous acts of kindness, helpfulness, and hospitality by its various members as the most friendly churches? Programmed strategies should only be seen as a starting point. Spontaneous acts of friendship make the real difference.

Are you doing your part to make people feel truly welcomed?


Biblical Ways to Fellowship with One Another


Biblical Ways to Fellowship with One Another
The Greek word used in the Bible for fellowship, koinonia, means the sharing of what we have in common (koinos). Our life in Jesus Christ brings us together as that which we share in common, superseding all of our differences. But how do we share, or participate, in that common life? There are at least four biblical ways to fellowship with one another.

Four Biblical Ways to Fellowship with One Another

If we look at Bible verses where koinonia appears, we find the process of fellowshipping with one another.

1) Celebrate together what Jesus has done for us through the Lord’s Supper, also known as Holy Communion.

Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation (koinonia) in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation (koinonia) in the body of Christ? (1 Cor. 10:16)

2) Contribute materially to the needs of one another.

For Macedonia and Achaia were pleased to make a contribution (koinonia) for the poor among the Lord’s people in Jerusalem. (Rom. 15:26)

For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing (koinonia) in this service to the Lord’s people. (2 Cor. 8:3-4)

3) Communicate about God’s work in each other’s lives.

that the sharing (koinonia) of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:6)

4) Connect with one another in sharing the whole of our lives on a regular basis, engaging in true community.

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship (koinonia), to the breaking of bread and to prayer. … All the believers were together and had everything in common (koinos). … (Acts 2:42-47)

All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared (koinos) everything they had. … (Acts 4:32-35)

You’ll find these processes of fellowshipping listed in the Church Purpose Manual which looks at fellowship as one of the ways to fulfill our purpose to love people. It also considers other ways to live our our purpose to love God and people.

For More: Fellowship Resources


God’s Word Essential to Christian Community


A Christian Community with God's Word Essential
The Church is a community, a group of people connected by their common life in Christ Jesus (Rom. 12:4-5). Though He is the foundation upon which fellowship with one another gets built (1 John 1:7), God’s Word must also be viewed as essential to Christian Community.

We find the Word as an integral part in Acts 2:42-47 where we see community at its best in the early New Testament Church. They devoted themselves to a number of essential elements with “the apostles’ teaching” heading the list followed by fellowship.

Ways in Which God’s Word is Essential to Christian Community

When members of the Body act like they belong to one another in Christ Jesus, we have true Christian Community. Here are three ways God uses His Word to bring about that kind of unity:

1) The Word is our Source of authority about community.

Scripture informs and instructs us about what community is. And, it corrects us and trains us on how to get back on track. It thoroughly equips us for EVERY good work, including acts of community. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)

2) The Word is what Prepares us for community.

When Jesus prayed for the disciples’ protection and for unity among believers through the ages, He asked God to “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (Jn. 17:17) Sanctification is the process through which we become more and more Christ-like and able to live out God’s purposes and design for the Church.

3) The Word is a Core element to community.

We use God’s Word as the basis for encouraging and building up one another. As members of one body we’re to “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Col. 3:15-16)


Everybody Makes Mistakes


No matter what we’re involved in, sooner or later, somebody will make a mistake. We might like to think we’re the exception but we too will do something that should have been handled differently, say something we shouldn’t have said, overlook something or someone we should have seen. Everybody makes mistakes, including you and me.

Life in the Church is no different. We are a group of diverse human beings coming together, though saved by grace, still human. That means we don’t know all, see all, and can’t do everything. The pastor will make mistakes. Ministry leaders will not get everything right. And, you and I will make mistakes too especially if we’re involved in ministry.

We do have access to a God who does know all, see all, and can do everything. We can learn the right way in His Word. We can pray for wisdom and strength. Yet, we’re all a work in progress (Phil. 3:12) so there will be times we might lean on our own understanding or on occasions we’ll plow forward without waiting on God.

Since Everybody Makes Mistakes, How About a Little Grace?

God, who makes no mistakes, being perfect in all He does, extends grace. And, we’re not talking about a little grace but rather grace upon grace (Jn. 1:16). Also, His grace extends to outright sin we commit against Him, not just minor lapses in judgment.

Everybody Makes Mistakes, The Lord Extends GraceThe LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust. (Ps. 103:8-14)

Many church conflicts and splits could have been avoided if people had just extended a little grace toward someone they perceived to have made a mistake. And, it would have been easier for people to exercise that grace had those at fault handled their mistakes with humility, grace, wisdom, and understanding.

Let’s all ask God to search our hearts (Ps. 139:23-24), whether or not we’re the person making the mistake, to see if we’re extending grace.

  • How will you react to mistakes others make?
  • How will you handle mistakes you make?

Results of Making Fellowship a Priority


Fellowship, koinonia, relates to sharing what we have in common, which is our life in Christ. God’s Word provides reasons we should prioritize such community with one another and it also gives results of making fellowship a priority.

3 Biblical Results of Making Fellowship a Priority

1) We have unity among believers when we base it on what we have in common in Christ.

… if any common sharing (koinonia) in the Spirit … then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. (Phil. 2:1-2)

2) We develop gratitude and a genuine love and concern for one another that leads us to pray for them.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership (koinonia) in the gospel … (Phil. 1:3-8)

3) That love for one another makes us a more effective witness to the world around us.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (Jn. 13:35)

Results of Making Fellowship a Priority in Church Purpose Ministry Manual
These results are listed in the Church Purpose Ministry Manual which looks at fellowship as one of the ways we fulfill our purpose to love people. The manual also provides some questions to reflect on about how you are doing at making fellowship a priority.

Learn More: Resources for Fellowship


Fellowship a Priority?


Fellowship a Priority


The Christian life isn’t meant to be lived alone but rather in fellowship with one another. The corporate, common sharing of life in Christ (koinonia), therefore needs to be a priority for His Church.

6 Biblical Reasons Fellowship Should be a Priority

God’s Word provides a number of reasons we should view fellowship with one another as important.

  1. God created people for human community. (Gen. 2:18)
  1. We find a corporate aspect of God’s people both in both Old Testament life and in the New Testament Church. (Gen. 12:2; Eph. 2:19-22)
  1. The Early Church devoted themselves to fellowship. (Acts 2:42)
  1. Jesus prayed for our oneness to be patterned after the fellowship enjoyed in the Trinity. (John 17:20-23)
  1. We’re commanded not to forsake relationship with one another which requires spending time with one another. (Heb. 10:25)
  1. Eternity with the Lord has a corporate dimension as well. (Rev. 21:2-22:5; Heb. 11:10, 13-14; 1 Thess. 4:16-18; Phil. 3:20)

If we can’t fellowship with one another, perhaps we need to ask if we’re in fellowship with God.

Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1 Jn. 4:20-21)

The Church Purpose Manual includes what you read in this post along with more about this priority as well as other ways we can live out our purpose to love God and people.

More: Resources on Fellowship