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Forever Friends

        What’s the difference between spending time with a non-Christian versus a Christian friend?  Is there a difference?  Does it matter if you build any meaningful relationship with a Christian?  Why can’t you have community that satisfies your soul's longing with non-Christians? What is the difference between friendship and fellowship? Is there a difference? Have you considered what it looks like to be in fellowship with someone and not just friendship? How does that practically play out in life? Let's explore more together.

1) Making Friends is Hard

Some Christians are awkward and difficult to befriend.  It can be hard.  Research shows we are more connected than ever, yet we are still lonely. At this point, it's become an epidemic. When it can be difficult to make, keep, and grow friendships, how do people battle loneliness? Is the alternative suitable?  Befriending and deepening meaningful friendships with non-Christians? There are more unbelievers than Christians, which puts the odds in your favor a bit more. Seems like a practically good thing to do and kick loneliness to the curb like an old stained sofa.


2) Should I Befriend Unbelievers?

         For starters, friendships with Christians and non-Christians are completely appropriate and biblically encouraged.  The purpose of those friendships determines if they are appropriate.  When friendship with non-Christians is purposed to love them into believing Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, then the friendship is appropriate.  If friendship with non-Christians is purposeless regarding eternity and open to compromise for Christ followers' obedience to the faith, then the friendship is inappropriate.


It's important to note that friendships with Christians differ from non-Christians.  They are not the same.  There is a massive difference.  Now you’re thinking….


“Why can’t I have friends who aren’t Christians?  That doesn’t sound very Christlike!” 


“I find non-Christians in my workplace far more encouraging than people at church.”


“Non-Christians are nicer to me than Christians I’ve met.”


“Non-Christians inspire me to achieve my goals far more than Christians.”


No one said you can’t have non-Christian friends.  It's good and holds much purpose. However, entrusting your soul to friends you are in fellowship with is a magnificent advantage for you.

3) Fellowship is Forever Friendship

Knowing Christian friends can do far more for you than non-Christians is important to recognize.  How?  Christians are in fellowship with God.  If you are in Christ, you are in fellowship with God.  Non-Christians are not in fellowship with God.  Christians fellowship with God and one another.  Fellowship showcases eternal friendship.  No fellowship divulges temporal friendship. Truly, unbelievers are friendships that only last in the here and now. Whereas fellowship is relationships you are building in preparation for eternity that will continue for all of time. Friendship with Christians lasts forever.  It’s unending.  With non-Christians, friendships are temporary and seasonal.  It’s fleeting, momentary, and short-lived.  When this life ends, so does friendship.  Not so with Christian friends.  It’s forever, endless, and eternal. Loneliness has no place in eternity because of the fellowship offered to us by God with Him and one another.

Here's a chart breakdown of the differences between Christian and non-Christian friends.


Christian Friend

Non-Christian Friend

Holy Spirit


Eternal Encouragement

Temporary Encouragement



Fellowship (Deep)

Friendship (Shallow)

Foundation of Truth

Changing Foundations



Forever Friendships

Fleeting Friendships

Christian friends offer much more than non-Christian friends. Battling loneliness can never be done in isolation. Begin striving to build relationships with those in fellowship with God and then you. The best way that I have seen to do this is through joining a small group in a local church. I encourage you to join a life group ASAP! You won't regret it!


Join a small group, bring your non-Christian friends, and start building forever friendships.



Adam Erlichman

Senior Consultant and Author at Build Groups in Dallas, TX. Adam has served in Executive, Discipleship, Groups, Young Adult, and Youth ministries. 5-time best-selling author of Christian leadership and discipleship resources. See more about Adam's consulting services to help increase your ministries by 30-50% in 6-12 months on the following topics:


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