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Focus on the Friendship (8 of 14)
Series: Focus on Your Family
What do you want from a church? If you're like most people, you want dynamic preaching, awe-inspiring worship, and great ministries for children, teens, and adults. You want the whole kit and kaboodle. Yet, most Christians have a pet preference in what they want from a church. For me, it's preaching. When I was eighteen years old, I began listening to Dr. Tony Evans preach expository sermons. As a result, I fell in love with God's Word and biblical preaching. When I have looked for a church in the past twenty years or have visited other churches, I am always interested in the caliber of the preaching. I have learned over the years, however, that many Christians don't share my preference. They deem worship, programs, and even facilities as more important. Now, we can quibble about what area of ministry is most important, but it may very well come down to personal preferences.
Nevertheless, there is a church priority that we can all agree on: friendship. During my tenure at Emmanuel, there have been three key turning point experiences for me. First, when I came to Emmanuel, we used to bring our new members on stage and introduce them to the congregation. Whenever we would ask a new member why he or she decided to become a member, the person didn't say, "I just love the preaching." "The worship is amazing." "There are great kid's programs." Quite the opposite, nearly every single new member would say, "I love the friendliness of this church, and I've made some great friends." It began to dawn on me that friendships are incredibly important. Second, several years ago our elders were revising our Discover Emmanuel membership manual. We were seeking input from some of the trusted leaders in our church. The great Sean Vincent, otherwise known as "The Church Phantom" because of his behind the scenes service, weighed in on this project. He mentioned that the word "friendship" ...
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