Transformative Friendships: 7 Questions to Deepen Any Relationship

Brad Hambrick
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Transformative Friendships shares seven simple questions that will help you be intentional with your relationships and offers a springboard to deepening and strengthening friendships that will enrich your life.   

Building meaningful friendships is not as easy as we wish it was. A culture that is lonelier and more disconnected than ever proves how hard it can be. In Transformative Friendships, counselor Brad Hambrick encourages readers to develop new rhythms, habits, and lifestyles that will shape and grow their relationships, both with casual acquaintances and closer friends.  

The goal is not to develop perfect friendships, but rather learn how to cultivate deep connections that grow steadily over time through conversations based on simple questions and common interactions. Hambrick’s biblical vision for friendship calls Christians to engage with one another in the transformational way God intended. 

  • The third book in the Church-Based Counseling series, designed to help churches mobilize and utilize levels of care from friendship to mentoring to counseling groups.  
  • Learn how sharing your story and hearing others’ stories will cultivate a sense of belonging and encourage mutual understanding.  
  • Useful for individual, one-on-one, or small group book discussions.  


Brad Hambrick, ThM, EdD, serves as the Pastor of Counseling at The Summit Church in Durham, NC. He also serves as Assistant Professor of Biblical Counseling at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, a council member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition, and has authored several books, including Making Sense of Forgiveness, Angry with God, and the Church-Based Counseling series, and served as general editor for the Becoming a Church that Cares Well for the Abused curriculum.

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“Here in his latest work, Brad Hambrick encourages us to build simple and meaningful friendships in a way that feels neither programmed nor painful. He offers a simple framework of questions that can be extrapolated in a million different ways but ultimately leads you toward a deeper, richer sense of knowing one another. I’m thrilled that what I get to experience regularly in my friendship with Brad is now yours to share through this enriching and engaging book.” 
Jonathan Holmes, Executive Director, Fieldstone Counseling 

“What Brad offers to us in these pages is a timeless framework for nourishing personal relationships. If you’re looking for a practical guide for cultivating friendships with wisdom and intention, this helpful book is it!” 
Christine M. Chappell, Author of Midnight Mercies: Walking with God through Depression in Motherhood; Hope + Help Podcast host,Institute of Biblical Counseling & Discipleship; certified biblical counselor 

“In a trying time, pastors and counselors cannot walk as closely with you as a true friend can. That's why Transformative Friendships is such a necessary resource for believers today. Regular engagement in Brad Hambrick's seven questions will produce depth in any relationship and build a foundation for friendships that traverse every season of life.” 
David Talbert, Small Groups Pastor, The Summit Church, Durham, NC 

“What makes friendship good? How can we enlarge our care for one another? As a skilled physician of the soul, Brad Hambrick combines his rich understanding of Scripture with his genuine curiosity about people and then beautifully articulates this doctrine of transformational friendship. Leave it to Brad to carefully and methodically communicate a message that the body of Christ is so desperate to hear.” 
Ann Maree Goudzwaard, Executive Director, Help[H]er 

“In a world of inch-deep and mile-wide relationships, there seems to be a gap between people’s desire for rich friendships and the lack of depth in their current relationships. This book is not only a gospel-saturated reflection of that pursuit but a tangible roadmap for helping you get there. A timely resource that I think all church leaders should have on their shelves.” 
Jason Gaston, Executive Pastor of Next Gen, Biltmore Church, Arden, NC 

“Living in a time when loneliness and isolation are reaching epidemic proportions, Transformative Friendships tells a better story and points to a better way. Offering rich insights aimed at building lasting friendships, Brad Hambrick winsomely hands the reader seven ‘simple and meaningful’ questions to ask that will undoubtedly deepen any relationship. This bookis immensely practical and desperately needed.”  
Will Toburen, Lead Pastor, Calvary Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC 

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3 Reviews

  • 5
    Develop Deep Friendships

    Posted by Joan Nienhuis on 03 24 2024

    Having a good friend is powerful but cultivating such a friendship may be difficult. Hambrick suggests seven questions to help develop meaningful engagement. Each of those seven questions has five levels and Hambrick gives questions to ask to stimulate movement through each deeper level. My favorite part of the book dealt with the question about what is hard. While there is much a friend can do, Hambrick clarifies that a friend cannot be a substitute for God's perfect compassion. His section on what's bad is thought provoking in that we must be willing to talk about sin. That is challenging. We are reminded that transparency may be the most “powerful, yet most neglected, tool for character formation.” (995/2072) “In friendship, we must take the risk of being known if we are going to know the joy of being loved.” (1887/2072) Friendships are so important and I really appreciate Hambrick's suggestions for developing transformative ones, ones that help us become more the people God wants us to be. I found this book to also be valuable for personal learning and development. I recommend this book to those willing to take a journey of self-awareness and friendship intentionality. I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

  • 5
    great depth!

    Posted by Danni B on 03 20 2024

    With the world still sifting through the after effects of Covid, relationships have been burdened and weakened. Needless to say, I was eager to read this book in order to better understand how we bring our relationships back to the way God created them to be. Logistically, the book is structured with seven sections, each addressing a specific questions: What’s Your Story? What’s Good? What’s Hard? What’s Bad? What’s Fun? What’s Stuck? What’s Next? Each of these sections include five chapters diving into the details of the question and concludes with a Summative Exercise. These portions are particularly thoughtful and applicable. Hambrick provides a simple, easy challenge for the reader to begin implementing in order to increase the depth of their relationships with others. Each section follows a very specific pattern laid out in the introduction: Define why each question is important: I.E. Know what you’re pursuing Identify the five depths of growth: I.E. know the little wins on the way to the big win Conclude with a summative exercise: I.E. know how to cement the growth you’ve achieved What I appreciate the most about this book is Hambrick’s acknowledgment and reminder that we are not to pursue a serious, best friend relationship with every person we come in contact with. Scripture clearly displays Jesus’s inner circle, wider circle, and outside circle. With his presented questions “and a dash of intentionality, we can experience friendships at depth of five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five, thirty, and thirty-five that will enrich our lives.” In the book’s conclusion, Hambrick highlights very specific action words that define how we should approach our friendships: Know, Affirm, Support, Engage, Delight, Assess, Pursue He also presents two very key realities of all friendships: First, friendships are marked by proportional, voluntary knowledge of each other Second, friendships are marked by proportional, shared investment in the relationship Overall, this book was so wonderful in understanding the strengths, the struggles, the practicalities of friendships and the responsibilities we hold in our friendships. I received an ecopy of this book from New Growth Press in exchange for an honest review.

  • 5
    Help to deepen friendships

    Posted by Wendy on 03 11 2024

    Have you ever wished that your friendships were deeper? That you were able to share more honestly with each other, both the joys and the challenges that you each face?Hambrick provides a simple yet effective guide to deeper friendships - through the use of seven questions: What’s your story? What’s good? Hard? Bad? Fun? Stuck? Next? Each is broken down further into five depths of growth. The breadth of questions and the various depths to which they are explored is quite extensive. It is designed for mutual friendships, where both are committed to deepening the relationship. He also cautions - not every friendship will move to the deepest level. It’s appropriate to have numerous friends, all at different levels. There is no overarching theological framework of friendship and how it could look. It assumes you are a Christian who wants to deepen your friendships with other Christians and dives in at that point. This keeps the book short (150 pages) and easy to read, with each mini chapter being only about 3 pages. Of course, enacting it will take much longer with considerably more effort! Hambrick’s goal however is to produce friendships “that enrich our lives a little more each day”. You could implement it by sharing a bit more and allowing space for a friend them to do the same, or you could read it with a friend and intentionally plan to utilise it together. However you use it, this book will give lots of prompts and encouragements to invest in good, supportive, honest friendships.

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