The best friends are those that truly know us and are willing to do everything they can to make sure we know Jesus.
Know Your Friends!
This discussion starter is based of the old game show “The Newlywed Game.” Pick four pairs of kids to be the contestants up front. (The best mix is 2 guys, 2 girls, making sure that one couple is just friends while the other couple is dating. This way you have four different kinds of friendships represented. If not, do your best with what you have.)
Designate one person from each pair as "A" and the other as "B" then have adult leaders take both “B” students out of the room. While they’re gone, have the adult leaders ask the "B" students the following questions and WRITE DOWN THEIR ANSWERS. (We’ve given you two groups of questions you can use so there are no repeats necessary.)
Bring the “B” students back in, along with their adult leader escort, and put them up front by their matching friend. Now you’re ready to really start.
You’ll “re-ask” the same questions to the “A” students and match up their answers to what their friends (the “B” students) said. This is usually a lot of fun. Just make sure you word the questions correctly when on stage, (i.e. “What did your friend say you would say to the following question?”)
GROUP ONE Questions (for dating couple):
GROUP TWO Questions (just friends):
- What will your friend say is their favorite thing to do for fun?
- What will your friend say is the most embarrassing thing that happened to you while you were together?
- Multiple Choice: What will your friend say best describes your relationship?
A. A Well-Oiled Machine
B. A Roller coaster
C. The Weather
D. Dirty Underwear – it’s time for a change!
- Multiple Choice: What is most important to your friend?
A. Talking with each other
B. Doing things together
C. Never arguing
- What will your friend say is your best "stupid human trick"?
- Where were you when you met your friend?
- How will your friend say they handle conflict? Like a . . .
- What does your friend despise the most?
OK, that was a lot of fun, but hopefully what you saw is the importance of friends truly knowing one another. If we don’t take the time to really get to know one another, our relationships never move past superficiality. Plus, if we don’t know our friends, we won’t know the best ways to help them. If our friends really know us and love us, they will make sure they do all they can to help us know Jesus. Let’s spend the next few moments comparing our friendships to that of some friends in the Bible to see if there’s anything we can learn about being a better friend.
Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.
CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.
- AROUND THE CIRLCE: As we get started, let’s all take a second to share our names and the quality we most look for in a friend.
- ASK A FEW: What are some benefits of friendship?
- ASK A FEW: What are some good reasons that people seek friendship?
- ASK A FEW: How well do your friends know you?
- ASK A FEW: How well do you know your friends?
Read the following passage:
ASK A FEW: How would you describe the paralyzed man’s friends from this story? Why?
ASK A FEW: Why do you think they did what they did? (Leaders – This is key. They knew his need and they loved him. They knew that Jesus would be able to help him. That’s why they did it; they wanted the best for their friend.)
ASK SOMEONE: Look closely, whose faith does Jesus take note of in order to heal the paralyzed man? (Leaders – Jesus actually heals the man based on his friends’ faith!)
ASK A FEW: We already know what the Pharisees and teachers of the law thought, but how do you think the other people reacted to this interruption?
ASK A FEW: Do you have friends like this? How do you know?
ASK A FEW: Do you think your friends consider you as good as the paralyzed man’s friends? Why or why not?
ASK A FEW: How important is Jesus within your friendships?
ASK A FEW: To what lengths are you willing to go to make sure your friends know Jesus?
AROUND THE CIRCLE: What can you do to make sure all of your friends know Jesus?
Luke 5:17-26 (NIV)
One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick. 18 Some men came carrying a paralytic on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus. 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven." 21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, "Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" 22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, "Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'? 24 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins...." He said to the paralyzed man, "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 25 Immediately he stood up in front of them, took what he had been lying on and went home praising God. 26 Everyone was amazed and gave praise to God. They were filled with awe and said, "We have seen remarkable things today."
We had a great time exploring what friendship is during our time together. Hopefully, you saw a great example of friendship in the story from the Bible. I want to have those kinds of friends around me, and I also want to be that kind of friend to others.
In the Bible, Jesus defines friendship in a blunt and powerful way. In John 15:12-13, He says, “Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”
Wow! Jesus says a friend is one who is willing to make a huge sacrifice for us. These friends in our story risked rejection. They risked ridicule. They risked injury. They risked a lot to make sure their friend got a chance to meet Jesus.
How well do you really know your friends? Do they know Jesus? Are they saved? Do you know if they have a relationship with the Lord of all lords? If so, great! If not, what are you gonna do about it?
More importantly, what are you doing about it?
If you’re up for it, let me issue you a challenge. Take out your cell phones and get ready to send a text to a friend whose salvation you’re not sure of – maybe you know they don’t love Jesus, or you’re just not sure.
Now, send them the following message: Hey, can we talk about something really important soon? If so, I’ll call you later.
Now you’re on the hook to “take your friend to Jesus” like these guys did. I want to know how it goes, good or bad. Hopefully, because you really know your friends’ needs, you’ll be able to meet them in Jesus.
Before we leave, let’s spend some time in prayer about what we’re gonna do for our friends this week. Let’s just get in groups of 3 or 4 and pray for our friends. (Give them a few minutes to do this.)
If you want/need some help talking to your friends about Jesus, we’re here to help you. Just grab one of us after we close in prayer. We’ll be happy to help you be the best friend you can be.
Close in Prayer
Written by David R Smith