People Are Not Looking for a Friendly Church

Like Us

Aren't people looking for a friendly church? Josh Hunt says no, and Rick Warren backs him up.

The reason is, as Rick Warren puts it, “People are not looking for a friendly church; they are looking for friends.” A guy at our local mall helped me to understand the difference. He was working at one of those little kiosks selling electronic gizmos and gadgets. He surprised me when he called me by name. He didn’t look even vaguely familiar to me.

“Are you Josh Hunt?” he asked.

“I am sorry; you have me at a bit of a disadvantage. I am sure I should remember your name, but I am really spacey,” I replied.

“Oh, I wouldn’t expect you to remember me. I used to attend your church but I don’t attend church anymore,” he said. Then he really surprised me. He asked, “Would you like to know why? Would you like to know why I don’t attend church anymore?”

Let me ask you the same question: Would you like to know why? Would you like to know the reason why this guy doesn’t attend church anymore?

Very bluntly stated he said, “People are only nice to you at church.”

It wasn’t enough for him. It wasn’t enough that we declared a message about a God who loved him. He wanted people to love him too. It wasn’t enough that we told him about how he could have a friend in Jesus. He wanted human friends as well. It is not enough to just deliver content about a God who loves; we must represent God. That is, we must help people to feel from us what God feels about them — love.  

Josh Hunt Josh Hunt loves small groups. He travels extensively training group leaders. He has spoken in some of America's leading churches including First Baptist Church Atlanta and Thomas Road Baptist Church, Lynchburg, VA. He has written several books on group life including You Can Double Your Class in Two Years or Less, Disciplemaking Teachers and Make Your Group Grow. He writes a popular online curriculum called Good Questions Have Groups Talking. His website is

More from Josh Hunt or visit Josh at

Please Note: We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, uncivil and off-topic. Read a detailed description of our Comments Policy.
  • Ryan

    There is truth in this and a little for me. Yea, I don’t go to church either any more. When I stopped going myself and I reflected back on all the many, many aspects of church over the years, I never got close to anyone and this was with the last two churches. This means when I moved and left, I didn’t miss anyone. I’m an introvert and the older I get the longer it takes for me to click with any one other person. I only need one. Although I had gone to church for 42 years, since my teen-age years, it just didn’t have much for social value. Here and there it did but too sparatic to be worth any more time spent. I went to lunch with a group of guys at work and they were bothered by my quietness. I told them I’m a one-on-one person. When ever I get in a group, I just subconsceously shut up. When I stand and talk to someone alone, I’m quite talkative. I don’t go to church and I’ve no interest in small groups, to sit and listen and be bored. So I just stay home, talk to God, listen to Him through His word and don’t go anywhere. I have no desire.

    • jskern

      I’m exactly the same way. One on one I’m fine; groups, not so much. All my life I’ve known I only “need” two people in my life: a wife/partner and best friend; tho I’m not the best at returning love or friendship). I’m 51yrs old and have Asperger’s Syndrome (found out just 7yrs ago). If it wasn’t for my wife, I’d rarely interact with anyone. I even came to the Lord back in my early 20s by myself–no evangelists, church, Xian friend, etc. Just want to let you know that there are other sheep like you in the Church. Solitary and saved.