How do you average?


“approximating the statistical norm or average or expected value”


“a statistic describing the location of a distribution”


“around the middle of a scale of evaluation”

We are all familiar with the term average. We use it to compute final grades, compare pricing, and compare athletes. But what about us.  No one wants to be considered average. Average has the connotation of being unexceptional, normal…even boring.

But we are all average.

There is an adage that says:

You are the average of your five closest friends.

In other words, your beliefs, actions, values, etc generally come out to be the average of those of your five closest friends.  If you struggle with certain things in life, addictions, work ethic, etc., it’s a good bet that this average plays a part in that. But, it’s not all negative.  We can also exhibit an average of the good qualities – work ethic, work/family balance, how we treat our spouses and children.

But none of those are my question.

At one of the Catalyst Conferences I attended, we were asked to get out our cell phones and scroll through the phone book.  We were challenged to review that list to determine if we were solely surrounded by other Christians.  If there were no non-Christians in the list, why not? How could we possibly reach others for Jesus if our circle of friends only included Christians.

Well….here is the main question I’m pondering. And, no I don’t have the answers….I would love your feedback.

As a Christian, should I only include Christians in that five closest friends circle?

Of course that has all kinds of sub-questions.  How do I manage the influence that my non-Christian friends may have on my beliefs, etc? Do I need to regularly evaluate my five closest friends since I am the average of their beliefs, etc?  How do I evaluate myself and the contribution I make to this circle? Those are just a few.

What do you think?


4 thoughts on “How do you average?”

  1. Greg, I have a friend named Neb Hayden. Neb played football at Alabama under the legendary coach, Paul "Bear" Bryant. Neb is also a committed Christian, and he has gone all over the world doing the Lord's work. He is a member of a commitment group of four men, all Christians, who meet regularly and whose purpose is to hold each other accountable. IOW, they meet to ask each other the hard questions, such as, how is your relationship with Jesus, how are you treating your wife lately, are your children growing up in relationship with Jesus, are you being completely honest with your employer, etc. These four men are closer than brothers, and even if they are living on opposite ends of the country, they meet regularly to hold one another accountable. They have done this for 30 years, and as far as I know, they are all still alive and active in the group. Usually, when close friends get together at a social gathering, such as a party, they tend to cluster in a group, and exclude everyone else, or at least put them on the periphery. Not this group. They have a rule that when they are in a situation where others are present, especially strangers, they talk with everyone else but the members of the group, making contacts and telling them as much about Jesus as time and circumstances allow, and if they get a positive reaction, they make appointments to get together to dip deeper into Jesus. Your dad has met Neb at Windy Gap.

  2. I like the insight here. One thing I am still pondering surrounds how influence makes a difference in both directions. I guess I work with students and I see it every day. Even the strongest student changes some depending on their circle of friends…aka the environment they choose to be a part of.

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