You’ve Got a Friend in Me

Anna Marie Magyar Leadership, Personal Development, Resources 0 Comments

“Show me your friends, and I’ll show you your future.” -Pastor Peter Haas

Genesis chapter one is known as the creation story. For 31 verses, the Master Artist carefully designs every little detail from the veins in the leaves, to the color of the birds’ wings, to the movement of the sea. Each thing the Creator forms He saw that it “was very good” (Genesis 1:31, ESV).

In Genesis 2, the Artist grabs His cold brew, preparing to truly show off with His most fascinating production yet. In one breath, He wows all of creation with the formation of man. Again, we witness another good design.

It’s in verse 18 that the Lord speaks what we have not heard Him say as of yet, “It is not good…” What, we ask, in all that You have created cannot be good? He continues “…that man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18, ESV).

When man first steps on the scene of the creation story, God demonstrates the need for him to have someone by his side — a helper. Other words for helper include: backup, right-hand man/woman, and friend. God did not just provide Adam with any random person to keep him company. Rather, He created Eve, a “helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:20b, ESV).

We cannot read Genesis 2 and walk away thinking that God does not care about who we surround ourselves with, or ignore the importance in having the right people in our inner circle. Jesus modeled this for us very well. Although He spent time and built relationships with 12 disciples, it was Peter, James and John that Jesus chose to include within His inner circle. It was these three who witnessed the miracle of raising Jairus’ Daughter (Mark 5:37). It was to only these men that Jesus revealed the fullness of His identity to (Mark 9:2-7); and when Jesus was overcome with the distress of His upcoming arrest and the cross, it was these three Jesus chose to be fully vulnerable with (Mark 14:33 & 34).

If Jesus used wisdom, caution, and intentionality with whom He chose to share His heart, glory, and deepest emotions with, then why should we take our friendships any less seriously? How often do we consider the importance and value in the individuals we are spending the most time with, and being the most vulnerable with? How frequently do we assess our own responsibility as a friend to others?

The Bible is so very clear about the impact of who we surround ourselves with:

  • Paul shares, “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’” (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).  
  • Proverbs 22:24-25 explains, “Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person… or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared” (NIV).
  • Proverbs 13:20 advises, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm” (NIV).
  • When demonstrating the value of a good friend, Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 states, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up” (NIV).
  • Lastly, Proverbs 12:26 explains “The righteous choose their friends carefully” (NIV).

The scriptures supporting the value of a good friend, and caution when choosing who you surround yourself with far surpasses the list I have included above. There is then no question that God sees great value in friendships and their quality.

I encourage you to seek God in this–to ask Him who should be in your inner circle, and to advise you on being a friend who “sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24, NIV). As He did with Adam, God can provide you with the helpers (friends) you need in this season, and grow you into the person those around you need alongside them. I have found such life in the close friendships I have, and I am confident God can provide that for you as well.

For more information on the value of friendships, and how to choose right relationships, see the links below to two of Peter Haas’ blogs on the topic. 

https://www.peterhaas.org/how-to-find-transformational-fellowship/

https://www.peterhaas.org/your-friends-affect-everything-so-choose-them-well/

About the Author

Anna Marie Magyar

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Wife. Cat mom. Lover of Jesus, coffee, and all things Disney. I was a student leader in my BASIC group at the College of St. Rose and have continued to help with the group as a co-adviser.

How To Reach Mid-Termers

How To Reach Mid-Termers

Chris Zeigler Advisors & Student Leaders, Evangelism, Planning 0 Comments

Every year we work hard and put in many hours to recruit freshmen to our group. There are the club fairs, opening week events, hours that go into tabling and everything else those first few weeks of the fall semester entail. And it’s definitely important that we spend that time and energy, but we often ignore students who are new to our campus in the spring semester – mid-termers.

I remember my first year working to start a college ministry at SUNY Geneseo. We had a group of 6-8 students and we could see momentum starting to build. One of our students knew of a girl from his high school who was going to transfer to Geneseo in the spring and he talked to us about getting her involved in the ministry.

We were able to connect with her early on, and even though she was still a fairly new Christian, she got plugged in and eventually became a student leader. Years later she came to work for BASIC and is now influencing students of her own on a campus in the Syracuse, NY area. Unfortunately, it isn’t that easy for most students who come in the middle of the year.

Every year there is a number of students who choose to start somewhere new in the spring, but they don’t get the same experience as those who came in the fall. Less attention is paid to transfer orientation, rooming them with someone who is a good fit or putting on opening week events that will help them feel welcome.

With that in mind here are a couple ways that you can work to reach mid-termers come January.

Transfer student reception

See if your ministry can somehow be represented at the transfer student reception. Most colleges want to encourage students to connect with something and get involved. If you can’t have a physical presence maybe you can provide a small gift that can get in the hands of each student.

If neither of those ideas work out, then you could still look to table near events planned for transfer students. Which brings me to my next point…

Recommit yourself to tabling

You may have tabled regularly to start the fall semester, but as life got crazy and students got busy your tabling trailed off. Make yourself visible outside of dining halls during mealtimes, at the gym or in the student union. If transfer students can’t see you, it’s possible they won’t even know you exist.

Create a welcome kit

You may have done something like this before for freshman move in. Put together kits with menus to local restaurants, snacks (bags of popcorn and granola bars work well) and things for laundry like a roll of quarters and detergent. Then ask the student life office if you can get a list of all transfer students and deliver it to them somehow.

Be a friend

In many ways, the experience of transfer students is probably like that of the kid who joined your fourth grade class in January when their parents moved to the area for work. If you weren’t a transfer student, just think back to how alone you might have felt at the beginning of college and then consider that mid-termers come in after a lot of friendships have already been established.

I’ve read before that to be in a place where you don’t have friends is like being on a deserted island. That’s a lonely place to be and unfortunately, it’s what many experience when they first come to college. It can be hard to make new friends, and yet, friendship is an easy way to make someone feel cared for and opens the door for you to share the Gospel.

So, I want to encourage you as January approaches to look for ways you can serve a new group of people in your ministry this year. You have a great opportunity to make someone feel welcome in a new place and to be a friend to those who are in need of one.

About the Author

Chris Zeigler

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Chris Zeigler is the Assistant Director of BASIC. He was a student leader with BASIC at the SUNY Oswego campus and has never lost his heart for college students since then. He and his wife, Cheryl, have started BASIC groups at three colleges in NY. Outside of work you can hear him talking about his reluctant love for the Oakland Raiders, see him using his iPhone to get "the perfect shot" to feed his love for photography and playing with his adorable kids.