When students start getting really involved in church most of them have a tendency to stop hanging out with friends that don’t go to church, or they spend most of their time hanging out with their church friends and less time with their non-church friends.
Even Jesus didn’t spend all of his time hanging out with the disciples. The Bible tells us Jesus spent time with prostitutes and tax collectors. I love that even in biblical times, tax collectors and prostitutes were on the same social level, but I digress. I think it’s important to teach them to not cut all of their ties with their friends who are not “church kids”.
Here’s some guidelines I give students for time spent with their non-believer friends:
- Don’t spend all your time trying to convert them, you’ll just turn them off to religion and a relationship with Jesus and they will eventually start avoiding you.
- Recognize their bad habits and don’t fall into temptation. Find the time and the place to talk to your friends about sin and why you think it’s wrong, what the Bible says and how you handle that temptation
- How you live your life may be the only Bible your non church friends ever read. If you say you’re a Christian but don’t live a biblical life, then you make a joke out of christianity and your friends will never want that for their lives.
- Try to introduce your “church friends” to your “non-church” friends. Let them see that you can have fun too and that church kids are not just boring kids sitting around and reading the Bible all day, you just choose to live your life to a higher standard.
- Be there for your non-church friends when they are going through a tough time, this can be a great opportunity to show them how being a Christian makes a difference in your life during times of trouble.
I’m sure there are tons of other reasons and examples, but these are the five I usually hit first with students. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic.