Carley, the author at Grace Partakers and Obsecrations, once observed (‘Someone Explain‘ by Carley Evans) something interesting that my pastor has been covering in detail on Wednesday nights. Both presented the topic of the fellowship of believers, which my pastor advises should not be confused with the socializing of church members.
The concern both expressed was whether biblical fellowship was taking place within the standard local church service, or would what occurs be better described as socializing? Carley and my pastor both asked, “What are the normal topics of discussion that take place between members of a local congregation?”
In our conversations, are we excited to share all that God has done through the week in our lives? Are we equally excited about what God is doing in the lives of others? Do we express the burdens we bear, and hear the burdens of others? Is our fellowship focused on Jesus?
Or… are our discussions consumed by our favorite team’s latest victory or loss. Is the content of our conversations primarily filled with our latest purchase, hunting or fishing trip, a recent movie or television program, the economy, or how things are going in Washington?
My good friend Matt, who will soon be leaving for language school, and then Senegal, shared something with us that really impacted my view on this. In the village where he and his family will serve, there are six believers in Jesus Christ. SIX! Can you imagine having only five other Christians available for fellowship? (Hey! Watch it. I heard that, and so did God)
First and foremost, it means fellowship must be undivided. If one member becomes upset with another, there’s not another church up the street to run to. There’s one church. They must also keep one another lifted up and encouraged. They can’t afford for one to fall by the wayside. They have to demonstrate Jesus’ love consistently for one another. (Acts 2:42)
So, how about us? Do we appreciate every believer (be honest) God has made available to us? Do we experience true fellowship with them, where Jesus is praised and worshiped and is the central topic of conversation? If not, why? Do we feel that other believers would be bored with hearing about what Jesus did this week? [shivers run up my spine as I write and then read that sentence]
My pastor, Joey, encouraged us with some ice-breaking questions that open the door for meaningful fellowship between believers. Here’s a couple of them that struck me as challenging.
“What have you seen God do recently? Where is He at work in your life?”
“How is your ministry going?”
“What spiritual challenges have you faced this week? How can I help and pray for you?”
Brother Joey concludes, “The bottom line is… church attendance is not enough. We are spiritual people who need spiritual things, including the fellowship that only the believers in Jesus Christ can experience. To avoid this, by whatever means, is sinful (Hebrews 10:24, 25).”