What is a Walk Alongside Friend?
Being there for others as God has been there for us is the phrase that best defines what a walk alongside friend is all about.
Being there includes being present: really listening to what the other person is saying, without planning what they will say in response, with a loving, nonjudgmental and caring attitude. The walk alongside friend walks alongside a person who is needing a listening ear, encouragement, someone who understands the pain of loss and crisis, and desires to help them connect with God in a growing relationship.
A walk alongside friend is captured by this verse:
He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God has been there for us. II Cor. 1:3-4 (MSG)
The history of Walk Alongside Ministries began in the late 1980s when Jann Dell, founder and director, coined this term to describe a dear friend. Jann says of this friend, "She was loving and nonjudgmental. She knew how to listen, ask questions that encouraged me to share my heart, prayed for me, and believed for God's best in my life."
If "walk alongside friend" was a phrase defined in a dictionary it might look something like this:
Definition: noun - An agent of the Holy Spirit [parakaletos] ... one called alongside, advocate and helper (John 14); a person who is comfortable 'being there' for others; one who says and models in their behavior, "I believe in you. You can be the person you are right now; I know you will become all that God desires for you to become. When life brings difficult times, I'm here to walk you through it ... in your healing time frame, not mine for you."
Walk Alongside Ministries seeks to equip believers to become a walk alongside friend and achieves that through providing relevant, helpful resources. WA friends come alongside others to listen, encourage, be there during loss and grief, and support them with prayer. In addition, a WA friend shares their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and encourages others to grow in their Christian walk.
To gain insight on what it takes to be a walk alongside friend, see Preparing for the Journey.