How to Enjoy MUTUALLY Encouraging Friendships

This is Part 3 of a five-part friendship series.

You can catch all of the friendship articles by linking to them below:

How to Make Better Friends – Week One

How to Begin & Enjoy a Mentoring Relationship – Week Two

How to Enjoy Mutually Encouraging Friendships – Week Three

How to Invest in the Life of a Younger Friend – Week Four

How to Expand Your Friendship Horizons – Week Five


Years ago, I was handed the most wonderful book by a good friend.

What I gained from this book was life changing!

 

All of us want to enjoy true friendships with other people. But, where do you find mutually encouraging relationships? How do you discover positive, meaningful Christian friendships? Here are some great suggestions for how you can begin to enjoy more mutually affirming friendships. Why not drop by for a visit?

The book was called Restoring Your Spiritual Passion and was written by Pastor Gordon MacDonald.

The particular chapter that caught my attention was entitled, “Five Kinds of People You’ll Meet in Ministry.” (All sources are linked at the end of this article.)

These 5 Kinds of People include:

The Very Resourceful People (VRP’s)

They IGNITE your spiritual passion.

These are mentors, coaches, trusted advocates who inspire you in ministry and help you grow in your skill and wisdom. These people always make a positive contribution to your world.

(Very Resourceful People’s Impact upon your spiritual/leadership energy:  +3.)

The Very Important People (VIP’s)

They SHARE your spiritual passion.

These are teammates, close friends, disciple-makers who labor in ministry alongside you. Together you stir one another up to faithful and fruitful ministry. “We do not spend large amounts of time trying to get along, or debating over whose philosophy will prevail, or be determining who is in charge. We are bound together to get a task done, and get it done we will.”

(Very Important People’s Impact upon your spiritual/leadership energy:  +2.)

The Very Trainable People (VTP’s)

They CATCH your spiritual passion.

These people want to grow and serve, and they have a teachable spirit that’s willing to learn. “We draw them to our side and open our lives to them. In the very sharing of ourselves, we stir our own passion for serving and growing because we see the immediate effect it has upon them.”

(Very Trainable People’s Impact on your spiritual/leadership energy:   +1.)

The Very Nice People (VNP’s)

They ENJOY your spiritual passion.

These people don’t want to share your ministry; they want to benefit from it. They are wonderful to be with and are often encouraging, but they are not always on the serving and growing edge. “Although the VNP’s may swell the ego with their applause and conditional loyalty, they exhaust the spirit through their desire to take what the leader has to give.”

(Very Nice People’s Impact on you spiritual/leadership energy:  0.)

The Very Draining People (VDP’s)

They SAP your spiritual passion.

“I do not wish to write of VDP’s unkindly, but they exist in all of our worlds and must be carefully identified. Until we understand who they are and how they touch our lives, we will not fully understand why we experience weariness and passionlessness at times.”

Three realities about VDP’s: 1) they are drawn to any healthy group of people; 2) A healthy group can lose its vitality if there are simply too many VDP’s to sustain; 3) VDP’s who are permitted to relentlessly drain leaders of their passion will create a climate in which no one wants to serve as a leader.

(Very Draining People’s impact on spiritual/leadership energy:   -2.)

Gordon MacDonald went on to explain that we spend FAR TOO MUCH of our time with the Very Nice People (VNP’s) and the Very Draining People (VDP’s) and not near ENOUGH time with the other groups.

We wear ourselves out helping people who add absolutely NOTHING to our lives. Click To Tweet

Or, we spend all of our time and energies helping only those who take, tug, pull, siphon, and suck the life right out of us.

Instead, MacDonald suggested that we should make every effort to look for more Very Resourceful People (VRP’s), Very Important People (VIP’s), and Very Trainable People (VTP’s).

In other words, we all need more Paul’s (mentors), Barnabas’s (encouraging friends), and Timothy’s (disciples) in our lives.

We are in the middle of a Friendship Series.

In the first week of this series, we talked about How to Make Better Friends. You can read that post HERE.

Last week, we talked about How to Find a Mentor. You can read that article HERE.

Next week, we will talk about How to Become a Mentor to Someone Else.

Today, let’s consider some very practical ways that we can enjoy mutually encouraging friendships.

Or, in the words of Gordon MacDonald, let’s seek out more VIP’s, those who “share our spiritual passion. These are teammates, close friends, disciple-makers who labor in ministry alongside you.”

3 Ways to Find More Mutually Encouraging Friendships:

First, pray and ask God for more mutually encouraging friendships.

Ask God to give you some positive people to serve alongside you. Click To Tweet

Invite Him to bring into your life some “heart friends” who will love you, love your ministry, love your family, and be there to support you and pray with and for you.

Here’s are a couple of examples from the friendship of Jonathan and David:

“After David had finished talking with Saul, he met Jonathan, the king’s son. There was an immediate bond between them, for Jonathan loved David.” (1 Samuel 18:1)

“And Jonathan made David reaffirm his vow of friendship again, for Jonathan loved David as he loved himself.”  (1 Samuel 20:17)

Prayer – Lord, would you give me a deep bond with a friend? Would you send me a friend that will love me as they love themselves? I ask you to grant me the gift of positive, powerful, and mutually encouraging friendship.

Second, begin to be open to everyone that God has placed in your life.

  • Look for people who have strong marriages and families.
  • Look for friends who seem to serve with joy.
  • Look for people who are low on drama and big on laughter.
  • Look for friends who are kind, friendly, compassionate, and gracious.
  • Listen as people talk: Do they talk about themselves? Do they talk about others? Or, are they talking about the Lord, about ministry, about issues that matter to you?

Keep your eyes and ears open. There are wonderful people everywhere.

There are amazing friends with whom you can connect all over the place! Click To Tweet

You may have to look a little closer and listen a little more intently than you ever have before.

Third, when you meet someone you’d like to get to know better, invite them out for coffee, for a walk, or for lunch.

Spend time with this person and enjoy getting to know them.

Afterward, consider:

1} Or, are you tired and drained after this encounter? Did time with this person make you feel exhausted?

(This person is likely a “Very Draining Person.”  Kindly move on!)

2} Or, maybe you don’t really have any reaction? They were nice and the time was pleasant, but your life has not been impacted by this friend.

(This person is likely a “Very Nice Person.”  Kindly move on!)

3} Do you feel encouraged and motivated? Are you refreshed? Have you been inspired and invigorated by this friend?  

(This person is likely a “Very Important Person.”  Get their number and cultivate this friendship! This person is worth your time, your attention, and your energies!)

When you meet a “Very Important Person,” you will just know!

You will experience a sweetness and an ease that only comes with the very best relationships.

And, when I think of these “Very Important People,” I think of Proverbs 11:25,

“The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

All of us want to enjoy true friendships with other people. But, where do you find mutually encouraging relationships? How do you discover positive, meaningful Christian friendships? Here are some great suggestions for how you can begin to enjoy more mutually affirming friendships. Why not drop by for a visit?

A “Very Important Person” will be REFRESHING to your life.

These friends will inspire you, motivate you, encourage you and build you up. We all need friends like these!

So, pray, look, and be willing to reach out.

Oh, and by the way, seek to be a refreshing person yourself. Click To Tweet

Be that “Very Important Person” in the lives of those around you!

Someone you know could be praying today for a friend just like YOU!


So, what do you think?

Do you have some mutually encouraging friendships?

I’d love to hear about one of your amazing friends!


Were you encouraged today?

Would you share this article with a friend, co-worker, or family member?

Maybe you can send it to a friend or family member?


~ Quotes/resources for this article today came from these sources:

https://www.amazon.com/Restoring-Spiritual-Passion-Gordon-MacDonald/dp/0840790694

http://www.bobthune.com/2013/08/five-kinds-of-people-youll-meet-in-ministry/

https://www.amazon.com/Rebuilding-Broken-World-Gordon-MacDonald-ebook/dp/B00AQ0AHSE/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1#nav-subnav

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© Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Melanie Redd and Ministry of Hope with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

About helloredds@gmail.com

Blessed wife of Randy for over 25 years, mom to two great college students, blogger, women's ministry coach, speaker and author who is amazed by God's grace-

6 thoughts on “How to Enjoy MUTUALLY Encouraging Friendships

  1. I have prayed for these types of friendships in the past and it has been so encouraging to see God answer those prayers. Prayer really works! Thank you for sharing these wise words, Melanie!

  2. I’ve been blessed by the ministry of Gordon MacDonald through the years.
    And why am I not surprised to find that you are focusing on friendship — the queen of collaboration on the web!

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