Church is one of the best places to meet new people and make new friends. Each time we’ve moved, church has been the first place we’ve looked to find community. And yet sometimes, it’s hard to get to know individual people in the crowds that attend a church. If you regularly attend a church and want to get to know your fellow members better, don’t give up! Here are three ways to get to know your church members.
Start a Friendly Conversation
The first way to get to know people at your church better is by starting a friendly conversation. It can be nerve-wracking to get to know new people, especially if you are new to the area. But the best way to make new friendships is by talking to people.
You can engage in friendly conversations with others at your church and start getting to know them. Try simply saying hello to a few people each week. Look for someone who seems to have something in common with you—for example, I’ll try to catch the eye of another mom chasing a toddler and give her a smile to encouragement. That can lead to saying hi, introducing myself and my toddler, and maybe exchanging a few words about how hard Mass is with a toddler.
Next week, make sure to watch for this person again and say hi once again. If that person isn’t there, find another person to say hi to, and then continue each week. Slowly, even if you only have a few minutes to chat each week as you enter or leave church, you’ll get to know your fellow parishioners.
Do Something Nice for Them
Doing something nice for people is another way that you can become friends with people at church. Part of a good friendship is doing thoughtful things for your friends. You want people to know you are someone they can lean on and that you are someone who will be there for others.
Doing nice things for people is a great way to start a lasting friendship with the people who attend your church. For example, if you know someone is going through a difficult time, you can write them a sweet card or get them a sentimental gift. There are several meaningful gifts you can give to your fellow church members that would encourage them. Maybe that mom who is struggling with her toddler would be encouraged by a prayer card or a small book of meditations for moms.
Join a Small Group
Mass is often a busy time at church. It can be hard to catch your friend in the foyer as you come or go (or chase kids who’ve bolted after Father said “Mass is ended”). I’ve found that the best way to make new friends at church is to join a small group. Many churches are offering small groups to build faith and community. You can join a group study on a specific topic or or a group for moms, men, young adults, etc.
We’ve belonged to several parishes that have active moms’ groups, which have been a huge source of encouragement and community for me. Within these groups, we often swap baby clothing and baby items and share parenting tips and prayer requests.
Some parishes have had monthly family potlucks, where families can gather to share food together. The children get to play and the adults get to socialize. Often, there was again a form of teaching here, as we listened to a talk or read a chapter from a book and then discussed it.
As your parish what groups are already formed or what studies are already happening. If you’re looking for something specific (like a mom’s group) and it isn’t at your parish, offer to start it. Often, if you see a need, then others need the same thing but maybe haven’t had the time or initiative to start it.
Invite Them To Do Something
Another way that you can become friends with people at church is by inviting them to do something. If you’re interested in getting to know people at church better, one of the best things you can do is ask them to hang out outside of church. Seeing your fellow members in an environment outside of the church will give you the chance to see a little more of their personalities.
You can ask someone at church to go out for lunch or to come over for a playdate with the kids. If you have children and you know other people at church with children, it’s a great idea to get the families together to play and have dinner or go to the park and enjoy a day together.
Participate at the Parish
Finally, the best way to get to know others at the parish is to participate. Even if you show up every Sunday, hang out with other parishioners, and join a small group, you can also get to know others in your parish by volunteering there. Offer to be a lector, teach children’s liturgy, or sing the choir. Look for ways you can volunteer as a family.
Participate in church social events, such as annual picnics, coffee after Mass, celebrations of church anniversaries or special feast days, and more. Go on the parish or diocesan spiritual retreat. The more you get involved and show up at your parish, the more you’ll make friends and feel at home there.
Now that you have some helpful tips for getting to know people at church, you can use these tactics the next time you go to church. Don’t be afraid to talk to new people and make new connections, as you never know where you might find lasting friendships.