Saturday, June 22, 2024
Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeAll The NewsJUST THINKING: The Importance of Fellowship

JUST THINKING: The Importance of Fellowship

The foremost aspect of a church is worship. The Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus are worthy of praise and, when the church gathers, that should be the focus. Added to that is evangelism. The Lord does not expect worship only from His churches — He also expects service. That is why our Master, in the Great Commission, directed His church to evangelize, making disciples. That commission also contains a directive to teach those new disciples. By definition, a disciple is a learner.

Still, there is another aspect — and it is an important one — fellowship. The early church knew how much that meant and, as a result, they met together often. I was just thinking about how much fellowship has been an integral part of the five churches I have been privileged to pastor. Here are some thoughts:

• Fellowship is a biblical concept. Fellowship is a means by which loneliness is taken away and relationships are built. Consider what God did for Adam. He saw that the man was alone and lonely. From the side of Adam, God made a woman. Eve was Adam’s bride, companion, helper and friend. There is no one in a church who doesn’t need fellowship — friendship and companionship. A paramount truth is that people need the Lord, but they also need other people.

• Fellowship enhances relationships. One of the most difficult aspects of acclimating as a new church member is getting to know other members. It is hard to get acquainted with that individual who sits across the sanctuary and who is gone immediately after the benediction. It is difficult to nurture relationships when such situations exist. Fellowship activities enable people to get to know each other and to build relationships — many of which last for decades.

• Fellowship is not limited to “eating meetings.” In every church I have pastored, there was a concerted effort to see that members and potential members had fellowship. Jesus fellowshipped with the apostles. After His resurrection, He even had a fish dinner awaiting them when they had come up empty from fishing.

I encourage men of the church to get together — fishing, building, canoeing or golfing. Some may say that is not fellowship. No, it’s not an “eating meeting,” but it is a time to get to know one another better, to express burdens and to pray for one another. I must emphasize, though, that every fellowship ought to include Christ.

Ladies have enjoyed similar times of fellowship. They get better acquainted through outings, retreats and Bible studies.

Youth need fellowship, too! I am not referring to entertainment — but for fellowships that help them together in their spiritual growth. One of the great times for youth is the BMAA’s SOAR. Hundreds of teens from across the country assemble for a spiritual conference each summer. Church camps at the various campgrounds available to our churches are also beneficial to young people because they associate with other young believers in Christ-centered environments.

• Fellowship is essential to your church’s health. A church whose members do not know each other is an unhealthy church. Fellowship meals certainly are good, but fellowship is much more than food. It is a friendly smile, a firm handshake, a gentle hug — all conveying Christian friendship. Fellowship builds friendships. Churches that have strong fellowship are usually growing churches. Churches that are prone to being cliques are not usually experiencing much growth. I believe the early church benefited from worship, discipleship and fellowship. Our churches today would do well to follow their example.

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts (worship.) They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts (fellowship,) praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people (relationship.) And the Lord added to their number daily (growth) those who were being saved (evangelism)” (Acts 2:46-47 NIV).