We've been studying true friendship in the youth ministry this semester. Thus far we've learned that true friendship is crucial, close, constant, and candid. This weekend we'll discuss how it is careful and soon we'll move on to true friendship is Christ-centered. While we've been learning a lot about friendship this semester, it has been my prayer that our students not only learn about friendship, but also grow in friendships with one another.
For that reason, we've added "friendship building activities" to our agenda on the evenings when we've been discussing this topic. One such evening took place last Friday as the middle school students gathered in the gym to eat Chick-fil-A and shoot nerf guns at one another. (In the picture above the youth leaders are preparing for a students vs. leaders round where the students had to steal the cookies. It was a miracle the leaders made it out of that one alive!)
One of the goals of building Christian friendships in our students is to give them a source of positive peer pressure. In his message titled Thoughts for Young Men, J.C. Ryle observes that one danger to young men (and women I'd add) is the fear of other's opinions. He writes, "The thought, 'What will my friends say or think of me?' nips many a good inclination in the bud. The fear of being looked at, laughed at, ridiculed, prevents many a good habit from being taken up." This being the case for many young people, a potential safeguard against giving into sin due to peer pressure is to surround one's self with those who pressure us towards Christ and not away from him. That is why we are working to build the friendships in our youth group. So that our students might surround themselves with friends who pressure one another towards Christ and not away from him.