Are Your Friendships Producing Fruit?

I met my friend, Carol Porter, twenty years ago when she gathered a group of women together in Chicago to draft one of the early books on women’s ministry. Appropriately called, A Women’s Ministry Handbook, Carol assigned us certain chapter topics according to our ministry experience and strengths.

Having recently left teaching in Bible Study Fellowship, my chapters were on speaking and small group leadership. A few years later, six of us became a traveling teaching team, going to various cities to give conferences on how to minister to women. Carol was always the leader—deservedly so.

Talking together, Carol shared that she and a friend called each other every morning to recite their memory verses—and this went on for years and years. She hosted early morning Bible studies in her kitchen, taught Precepts, learned piano, worked out with a Pilates instructor, and worked as Pastor to Women in her home church. She was a woman who intentionally lived for God and, as a result, had a remarkable impact on her friends.

As you think about your desire to grow, ask yourself, “Do my friends, the women I spend the most time with, stimulate me to grow spiritually, emotionally, intellectually?” Check these qualities that marked Carol’s life and see if some of them are present in your friendships:

  • She had a thirst to grow—recommending books, sharing insights, pointing to helpful resources
  • She always encouraged—pointing to the love and faithfulness of God
  • She modeled her passion—taking time to teach, listen, and disciple women who sought her out
  • She studied hard—reading, studying Greek, and taking classes that equipped her for God’s work,
  • She loved her husband, sons, and grandchildren deeply, relating to them with wisdom and joy
  • She was highly energetic, channeling her energy into what was worthwhile
  • She cared about those who needed support and equipping—pioneering a ministry to women leaders in Eastern Europe and equipping them to reach others

Can you point to some ways a friend has stimulated your faith? Have they invited you to pray with them? Shared a Scripture that has blessed them? Talked about what God is doing in their lives? Or, asked you how you are doing in your walk with God?

Not everyone can be like Carol, and I’m certainly not, but are there ways you’re bringing spiritual growth to your friends? Do your talk together about the Lord? (Malachi 4:16) Do you share helpful books? Invite them to go with you to a special event? Listen patiently and offer encouragement? Or talk openly about how God is working in your life.

Why not pray and watch out for those special friends—ones who are growing vigorously and who want you to do the same. And be sure to ask God to make you one, also.

poppysmithLG2

About Poppy Smith

Poppy Smith is British, is married to an American, and has lived in many countries. She is warm, funny, and brings an international flair seasoned with real-life honesty as she illustrates biblical truths. A former Bible Study Fellowship leader with […]

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Comments

  1. It has been a privilege to have had wonderful women of God in my life who set the example of godliness for me to follow. Karol has laid out some foundational stones for women to look for in their friendships. If your relationships aren't growing good fruit maybe it's time to do the radical work of pruning. It hurts for a season but brings growth for a lifetime. Don't remain stuck in unproductive friendships, bless them as you move forward. In the Gospel of John ~ "Jesus said, 'I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful." When we yield ourselves to the Lordship of Christ we no longer have desire to walk around with dead branches but give ourselves up to pruning knowing there is fruitfulness ahead.

  2. Karol,
    Your blog surprises me! I was part of the group meeting in Chicago and working on the book Carol Porter initiated too–several chapters. Carol was a dear friend and it was a privilege to spend time with her and have her teach in some of my seminary classes. The Women's Ministry Handbook was such a pioneer resource in those days and one in which I loved participating. I often quote Carol and refer to her when I teach on a variety of topics at Western Seminary. THANKS for bringing Carol's example to this blog… She is enjoying the presence of Jesus yet the aroma of her life still lingers here on earth.

  3. This was a surprise find this morning, He always knows when we need encouragement, or wisdom in what we should be and what we should be looking for, thank you for sharing

  4. Bev, please see my response above. I'm thankful for Carol's life too,

  5. Hi Bev and others who commented on my blog about Carol Porter. I hadn't seen your responses until just now. I'm a bit confused–did you think Karol wrote it? Whatever, all of us who knew Carol were blessed and influenced by her all out life for the Lord.

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