Develop a circle of friends outside your church.
I have learned over the years that it’s usually not a good idea to bare your soul to the people who attend your church. You need to develop a circle of friends outside your church. You might be thinking, “But I don’t have any.” A couple years ago, I started realizing that I didn’t have that circle of friends that I wanted. I knew I needed to do something about it. So I went to an ARC Conference to hear what they were saying. I fell in love with what they were doing.
That day at the conference, a man who could be considered one of my “competitors,” Craig Groeschel at LifeChurch.tv was speaking. LifeChurch.tv, I’m told, now has more outlets in Oklahoma than 7-Eleven. It’s unreal how many LifeChurch.tv’s there are now. For a long time, people would introduce us as being the largest church in the state of Oklahoma. Then all of a sudden it seemed there were LifeChurch.tv’s popping up everywhere. He spoke that day at the conference and gave a wonderful message. As I sat there listening, I realized I had a decision to make. Was I going to just move on and let this moment go by and not speak with this man, or was I going to make a new friend?
After his message, I made the decision to make a new friend. I had never met him before, but I went over to him and told him, “That was an awesome message, Craig.” This past year he came and preached at our Seeds Conference, and I was privileged to introduce him. “Craig,” I told him in front of our whole church and the conference, “Tulsa is a better city because you came. I cannot imagine the people who would never have been reached if you hadn’t come. Thank you for coming to this city.“
You have to make a decision that you’re going to have friends, and you can’t do that by staying in a hole. You have to get outside your walls and do some things that you may think will be uncomfortable. But let me tell you this: I love getting together with other pastors and we get to talk about the horror stories. It lets me know that I’m not the only one who gets tempted, who the devil is fighting, or who just has a bad day sometimes.
Isolation is Satan’s greatest tool. That’s why you need friends that are outside your church. And I cannot think of a better place to start than ARC. I’ve been in ministry now over 40 years, and I’ve been around lot of movements, and I have to say that I believe that the ARC group is the most Christ-like bunch that I’ve ever been around. For those of you who are contemplating becoming a part of it, I encourage you to jump in with both feet, because this is a very Christ-honoring group.
October 15 2014