"Just like on FRIENDS!" our neighbour Leslie said. "I'm going to tell everyone back home that I was just like the people on the show 'Friends!'"
Several years ago, Leslie was a neighbour that had become a family friend through our two sons being in the same class at school. Laura and Leslie had arranged playdates for the boys and began hanging out while the boys played lego and video games. Over time, Laura and Leslie became friends themselves. Naturally, we invited her and her son to a Thanksgiving party at our home that fall.
She loved it.
Having grown up across the world, this was her first Thanksgiving ever. Evidently back home everyone would watch 'Friends' and catch on to what Thanksgiving might be like.
Our Thanksgiving party was a mix of friends from our small group and friends from our neighbourhood.
Over time Leslie became friends with our friends too.
And, over time, she overheard that we got together at other times for a weekly potluck, Bible conversation, and prayer. It was only natural for her to become curious about it, and, it was only natural for us to offer her an invitation. She happily visited our small group.
And never left.
Over time she became a regular participant in our small group. She listened, asked questions, learned, offered her perspectives and began to engage scripture, consider Jesus, and even began giving prayer a try.
Inevitably, she overheard people in our small group talking about church on Sunday. "Do you guys get together on Sundays too?" she asked, not wanting to miss out on more time with friends. "What do you do on Sundays?"
We offered a brief explanation and let her know she's most welcome to visit anytime. She happily visited our church. In fact, although we had greeters offering a friendly welcome, she didn't need them. As she burst in, she saw all her friends from our small group and sped toward them with a big smile.
She never stopped coming.
And, inevitably, she ended up confessing Jesus as her own Lord and Saviour on one of our small group nights and was later baptized in water.
From atheist to follower of Jesus.
How did this happen?
Well, it was a miraculous work of God's Spirit. It always is! And along the way, in Leslie's journey, God used Laura's open heartedness, her gestures of friendship, and her introduction to other friends who love and follow Jesus too.
This story of God rescuing our friend Leslie from her destructive independence and welcoming her into the family of Jesus illustrates one of our CPC values.
Our fourth value is 3 Cups of Tea and 6 Other Friends, or, in other words, we value relational witness.
If you haven't happened to read our vision booklet or missed our vision Sunday , you might be wondering, 3 Cups of Tea? 6 Other Friends? Fair enough.
Who do you see regularly that doesn't know Jesus yet? Maybe it's someone you work with, or are on a rec team with. How could you grow a friendship with them? How could you help them to have other Christian friends?
Luke 7.34 says Jesus came to Earth eating and drinking and becoming a friend of sinners.
Let's follow in the way of our Lord!
Your neighbour might feel like they're on 'Friends' too.