I could use your thoughts friends!

4 Feb

As per the last post, this theme of genuine friendship has been racing in my mind for about six weeks.

When I first came back to writing, I talked about Peter and how it totally BLEW MY MIND that Jesus changed his name and told him he would be the rock on which he built his church, warned him he was going to deny him, told him Satan asked permission and He allowed it (KNOWING he would fail!) and then commissioned him with “when you turn back, strengthen your brothers.”

I’m not going to write on that again – but you guys, WOW! That’s absolutely HUGE!

So, I’m wrestling with how God wants me to use my past (sins, mistakes, failures, lessons, victories – all of it!) for His glory to strengthen others.

And the truth is – the resounding theme of every failure in my life is always the same.  Either I was experiencing a lack of friendship (I was lonely, isolated, and unconnected) OR I was investing in the wrong friendships (being deceived, led astray, and desensitized to truth).

I know I’m not the only one.

God DESIGNED us for fellowship.  Authentic, real, totally known, loved, accepted and genuine fellowship.  We all have a hole inside of us that deeply desires intimacy in relationships.  And truthfully – many of us never find it.  Or we find it in the wrong places.  Or maybe even worse yet, we find it and we hoard it instead of share it.  We get in clicks or routines in which we stop seeing anyone else and only invest in a small handful of people.  And how can we bring anyone to Christ if we can’t reach out our hand?

I once heard that 90% of people come to Christ because of a friendship.

It’s not because they attended a church service or retreat alone.  It might happen at one of those places, but it’s because someone invested in a FRIENDSHIP with them (be it a relative or a stranger) and modeled Christ in a way that drew them to the cross themselves.

Think back on who led you to Christ?  And then give your deepest praise to the God who gave them the time, courage, energy and commitment to invest!

So….. I am pretty certain God’s drawing together a ministry opportunity for me to bring in women, love on them deeply, and discuss what I’m learning about friendship with them.

I’m thinking supper, a painting, devotion time – this is SO in the beginning brainstorm stage and could be overhauled entirely!

However – I’m calling on you – I really NEED and would LOVE your thoughts. I want to hear from everyone in all stages of life and experiences.  If you’ve never commented before – do it this time!  Or if you’ve shared your heart here before – PLEASE do it again!  I want to hear from all of you!

What kind of an invite could be offered that would draw you to come to a one time event or monthly event like this?

What activity/event would be safe enough to try but sound fun enough that you wouldn’t want to miss it?

What type of study/devotion time would be most beneficial? Hearing someone’s testimony? Teachings on friendships? Just having the chance to share yourself?

And – if you’re up for it – I would sure covet your prayers on this.  I want to do this God’s way.  Not Kayla’s way.  I want clarity and direction that only comes from the Holy Spirit. This is His-story -making beauty from ashes from My – history.

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23 Responses to “I could use your thoughts friends!”

  1. journeyformybaby February 4, 2016 at 10:42 pm #

    This sounds like a great idea! I would be interested in going to something like this in my area. I don’t really have any insights but you could always do a spa day, craft day, cooking day etc.

    • Kayla Gulick February 5, 2016 at 7:42 am #

      Are you thinking more like a whole day retreat? I would love to host something like that! I feel like we could talk about so many aspects of what I’m learning….however, there is still really one big thing on my heart though. I feel like sometimes people are left out because financially they can’t pay for whatever event is being offered. So I’m trying to toss around the idea of how to offer this for free – but still make it appealing enough that people will want to come!

      • journeyformybaby February 5, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

        I don’t know…. I think that maybe if you had them bring a covered dish or an appetizer or something so they don’t have to pay necessarily but they would still be helping you so you don’t have to foot the entire bill for everything. I’ve done a spa day before relatively cheap since you don’t need a ton of supplies and a good time to chat is while you’re soaking your feet etc. You could use that time for people to share or for a bible study etc.

  2. Bridget A. Thomas February 5, 2016 at 7:25 am #

    Hi Kayla,

    This is a tough question because I feel as though whatever you do should be something that YOU are passionate about. The excitement of yours will in turn draw people. I loved the ideas that “journeyformybaby” mentioned – spa day, craft day, cooking day. I like to read, so a book club would interest me. I am currently participating in Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study and I am loving it. Painting sessions are very popular and do sound like a lot of fun! A supper, as you mentioned, would also be a wonderful idea as people can just relax and chat with each other. I’m not sure if I helped much. But I will be sure to pray! HUGS!

    • Bridget A. Thomas February 5, 2016 at 7:29 am #

      P.S. I forgot to say that overall, this is a really awesome idea. I do often feel as though my own life is lacking in the deep type friendships. So I know whatever you decide, it’s going to be a huge blessing!

      • Kayla Gulick February 5, 2016 at 7:45 am #

        I think you’re totally right that my passion will likely drive the event. Do you have any thoughts on what would make it enticing from your perspective? What is something you wouldn’t want to pass up on? If it was free? What kind of advertising or extremely personal invite would really draw you in?

        I was thinking that I want to write a hand written letter to each girl I invite (or have the person who invited them do this) and attach it with a small gift – like a favorite candy or something VERY PERSONAL to THEM specifically. I think so much of why authentic friendship struggles is we stay so safe and superficial and we rarely feel totally known, loved and accepted.

      • Bridget A. Thomas February 5, 2016 at 11:08 am #

        “I think so much of why authentic friendship struggles is we stay so safe and superficial and we rarely feel totally known, loved and accepted.” – YES! So true! Fear is the bottom line. People are scared they will be rejected if they completely open up.

        The idea of a hand written note with a small gift does sound like a fabulous idea to me. This will start things off on that personal level.

        For me personally, I would be willing to pay for something like this (depending on the amount). But I do understand that not everyone can pay. So perhaps you could ask for donations and the amount is up to each person.

        Something to take home as a token to remember the event by would be nice. Even if it’s just a picture of the entire group, a small plaque, or a bookmark with a scripture on it. Every time they look at it, they can remember what a fulfilling day that was.

      • Kayla Gulick February 5, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

        I love the idea of a keepsake!!!!

  3. Jenn February 5, 2016 at 8:07 am #

    Hey Kayla! I’ve have been involved in an at home bible study before and we follow a video and book. Last one was “Women of the Bible.” Dan is in a similar men’s group that gets together on Monday nights. They follow a program and meet privately. We have also started a “Sack Lunch Saturday” at our church and we bag lunches, toiletries, etc, and go downtown to distribute. The church has worked with another church in that area to get these folks in the door at a church near where they live. We have about 7-8 ladies that meet for dinner every other month, just to stay in touch outside of church consistently. We have a secret prayer pal organized among the ladies of the church and we exchange names and fill out a paper of our prayer needs and a few fun ideas to receive small gifts throughout the year. A group has also started to go the children’s home down here to interact and play games with the kids that are there. My sister has small group at her house every Monday and about 6-8 come to eat, fellowship, and do a small bible lesson. We love socializing at our church, so we choose outings a lot! Baseball games, adult dinners, game nights at the church, outdoor game nights. As far as what it sounds like you are trying, the secret prayer pal group would be fun! I could show younger sheet we use. Good luck and I hope you can pull something together for Him!

    • Kayla Gulick February 5, 2016 at 8:15 am #

      You have a very active Church Jenn! That’s fantastic! Let me ask this – are all those people active just on their own accord? What I mean is, if a new couple came in, didn’t know anyone, were shy or maybe felt inferior… how do your groups/studies/activities manage and handle the outreach part of bringing in the new people regularly and getting them connected?

      Our church has a core group… but a lot of people fall through the cracks because they don’t get connected. And that’s really where my heart is — the people who aren’t getting connected and don’t have authentic friendship, they just show up now and then and say Hi when greeted.

      • Jenn February 5, 2016 at 8:24 am #

        In our Sunday school classes, we have care group leaders who are in charge of 3-4 couples. When new folks come in, we have them fill out a visitor sheet, and someone contacts them within 1-2 days. We have class rolls, and the church keeps track of those who come regularly or those the “fall between the cracks” and for visitation on Tuesday nights, they visit those people. We try to add them to care groups for a leader to take care of. The ones who are new/quiet/unsure, we have class activities that we socialize together. We make sure we talk to them at the beginning of class, and try to get them plugged in. The secretary of the church sees all of the attendance lists and who is not “committed to a class” and tells the teachers to seek them out. It all begins with small interactions. My husband did not go with me at first, many years ago. I feel because two men on two different occasions came to the house and encouraged him to join a class, that did it for him. Someone caring… Like you are trying to do!!
        As far as getting involved in outside the church activities, yes, people do this on their own accord. We have about 100 ladies in the secret prayer pal program. And we count on small groups within Sunday school classes to get more personal with new people.

  4. Emily C February 5, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    Hi Kayla,

    It looks like there may be a couple different scenarios going on in your head so I just wanted to ask a couple questions and then give you my input. Are you just wanting to share with women your thoughts on the importance of friendship or are you actually wanting to build a group to pursue the intimacy of building close relationships?

    For me personally, I am not interested in just coming to hear someone talk or to hear a Bible lesson. I enjoy interactions and group discussion. And anything around food is a good idea 😉 If you are just looking to have a group to share what you have learned so that others may find it important as well, maybe a potluck and then after you share your heart and women break up into discussion groups? or like a tea party or coffee and desserts or something… this will not build intimacy on the large level but could be there kicking off point for relationships I suppose. I also think a board game night is always fun – just for fellowship.

    Honestly though, what I think might be more effective is to make a list of women you know on an acquaintance level that God puts on your heart to create a small group with. And instead of using it as a teaching, you share with these women what God has put on your heart and that you are wanting to create a space for these relationships in your life and you want to know if they would want to be a part of it. And you would commit together to pursuing the authentic relationships and being vulnerable and accountable with one another. You learn and grow together for a time and for a season and then see where God leads you.

    I think this is more effective because rather than just teaching you are learning and growing and walking it out together. About 10 years ago I had done this with three other women in the four of us met together regularly – either every week or every other I don’t remember – at Starbucks and we just bought our hearts. What we learned at the time, prayed together, it was just a safe place to talk and share and encourage one another and correct if we needed to… It was the most genuine and authentic group I think I have ever been a part of.

    I think it’s great that you are pursuing how God wants to use your stuff and pay it forward for his glory…awesome!

    Just my thoughts… 🙂
    Emily

    • Kayla Gulick February 5, 2016 at 10:55 am #

      You are so right that I have a lot of ideas. I’ve been back and forth on a one time, or once a month event(s) verses a once a week intimare study type thing with certain women. Ultimately the one thing I know for sure is that I do want these friendships myself, but my heart is not to build myself a group of click, but to always have an open door and actually be training others to go out and do the same thing.
      Thank you so much for sharing what would be effective for you! That really helps!!

      • Emily C February 5, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

        I would challenge you to refrain the “clique” concept. Going back to Jesus 😁 He had his inner circle of people. Peter James and John. They were his guys. They were also part of the 12 disciples which was also his guys… But he needed his inner circle. Vulnerability and intimacy are based on trust and relationship. It can be really hard to get that with a larger group of people. And if that is what you are seeking and I would keep it small. I would really pray that God leads the right people on your heart and more than you need to give them the opportunity to say yes or no. But then you lay out very clearly what your vision is and ask if they are open to committing to that. The other thing is it’s very hard to have intimacy and relationship if you’re only getting together once a month.

        On the flipside, I understand wanting to have a safe place to invite people and maybe that’s a separate deal. Maybe you have one tonigh on the flipside, I understand wanting to have a safe place to invite people and maybe that’s a separate deal. Maybe you have a once a month social where are you all invite people to come together for whatever. Then that is a standing date and when you meet new people you can say “hey, my friends and I get together once a month to do XY and Z… I would love for you to join us and get to know some other people” and then it gives a safe place for people to meet other people and then to eventually form their own relationships. It’s a launching pad for other small groups but it doesn’t try to take the place of an intimate small group.

      • Emily C February 5, 2016 at 2:24 pm #

        ReFRAME not refrain! Ugh!

    • Kayla Gulick February 5, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

      I am totally thinking its two different ideas just like you’re describing here. I agree we need an inner circle, I just don’t want to ever close my circle. I feel like ive come up against closed circles before and it left spuch hurt. And I think maybe I’m torn between describing if I want to start this for myself, or train and equip people how to find this for themselves. Which adds a second dynamic to the second concept 🙂

  5. howsyourlovelife February 5, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    My suggestion is similar to Emily’s, I have so many surface relationships with women that one event together does not interest me at all. I prefer a deep, ongoing investment in a few, maybe starting out as simply getting together to share our stories and then choosing together to read a book/do a study. I mentor several women and my guy and I counsel several couples, but the thought of pouring into and receiving from some other women would be a balm for me, and hopefully beneficial to them, as well.
    I love that you’re being convicted in this way, your last post said that you have relied on people too much for guidance, what does the Bible say about the subject?

    • Kayla Gulick February 5, 2016 at 10:59 am #

      I see what you did there. Lol!

      It’s hard to get people to commit to a weekly ongoing thing here. That’s why the one time or once a month thing appealed to me. But I’m agreeing that it won’t be deep enough.

      But it’s really about starting with the right people I suppose too!

  6. learning1 February 5, 2016 at 12:31 pm #

    Kayla, I haven’t read all the responses yet – but I intend to. I want to glean ideas from others as well. I love your heart in this en devour!

    My initial experience in this area was hurtful. I had all kinds of enthusiasm and high hopes. I found “fun” things to do and tried to encourage conversation into deeper issues with women. What I have learned from this effort is that, ultimately, some people are just there for the touch of social “fun”. Many, many may not be interested in “deeper” fellowship or conversations because it is just something they have shut themselves off to or don’t see the value in. I really have the heart to continue to reach out to others, but have really had to consider how I want to do that – and whether I am trying to “control” the outcome. People have to be allowed to be people – otherwise, you are truly trying to control them to get your desired response from them. And that isn’t what God wants.

    I also suggest sharing from an overflow of what inspires you or you have to give – not from what you think will control the outcome – and then use those opportunities to really look for the people who are seeking closer deeper things (the authentic, real, genuine, accepted fellowship and not just the superficial event) or “get” it and want to share those same things with you. Share from a heart that wants to give even if no one responds.

    When you share from your overflow – there is a well to give from, the response (if any) is genuine, and you feel fulfilled just for sharing. When you are trying to obtain an outcome – you are working in your own strength and the results can be less than heartening.

    • Kayla Gulick February 5, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      Thank you so much for your honesty about past hurt. That’s absolutely helpful and stuff I want to take note of and think through.

      And that’s a really great thought about just pouring from my well. I really need to start putting all that down on paper and see what that really even looks like!

  7. Bethany February 6, 2016 at 9:05 am #

    Kayla, I would love it if someone in my area set something up like this focusing on relationships. I wouldn’t be able to do something weekly, but likely I could make time for a monthly 2 hour gathering.

    My thoughts would be to definitely make it as low-cost as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t do something fun. Spa Day? Bring your own spa things you already have around the house – nail stuff, face masks, foot scrubs, etc…You can even make homemade versions of face masks or foot scrubs. You could also do a pot-luck or craft day this way.

    While you are spa-ing or crafting or whatever, have a topic of discussion prepared and a time to pray for one another. If you can find a simple Bible study or book that the ladies can do at home throughout the previous month, then come prepared to discuss, that might be a good way to lead the discussion. I would begin with a summary of the theme of the book/study in case someone comes who hasn’t read it prior to the meeting so they can still take part – make it optional.

    As far as continuing to build relationships among the women in the group, before they leave they can group up in two’s or three as sort of accountability partners and commit to staying in touch at least once a week for the next month. They could follow up on prayer requests, ask each other how their week went, and continue to pray for each other. This can be done via social media, email, text – something simple. The next month you can do a different book or Bible study, set up different partners, etc so if new women want to join in, they don’t feel left out.

    I hope that helps with your brainstorming! Looking forward to hearing how it turns out.

    • Kayla Gulick February 6, 2016 at 9:10 am #

      Love your thinking here!!!!

      Just a quick thought…..could you be the person who set it up in your area? You have amazing ideas!!!!!!

      • Bethany February 13, 2016 at 9:05 am #

        Thanks, Kayla. I’m currently working 50-60 hours/week alongside my husband in our brand-new business. We spend about 4-5 additional hours at church on Sunday. Don’t ask where meals, laundry, and cleaning fit into that! I think I could spare a couple hours to attend something but am sure I couldn’t spare the time to plan it…otherwise, I wish I could. 🙂

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