Bible literacy is at an all-time low, but DEVOTED Fellowship may be losing out to HANGING OUT Fellowship!
New Testament Christians didn’t just have fellowship, they devoted themselves to fellowship!
Obedient to God’s Word, these early believers made it a priority to meet together with other believers in fellowship with Christ–Koinonia in the Greek: “to share and take part together.”
What we call hanging out today is not Koinonia if it lacks an intimate connection between believers that offers support, comfort, praise and encouragement. This devotion to fellowship–and the intimacy it produces—lets believers experience the richness of their faith; grow in Christ together through life’s inevitable ebb and flow; and tap into the transformative power of Jesus.
A group of believers devoted to fellowship will generate accountability in a safe environment, spiritual growth, and opportunities to serve others.
ANOTHER SLOW START
Like almost everything in my personal walk with God, making a strong commitment to fellowship took far too long…many years, actually. Things started to turn in the right direction when I attended the spiritual maturity class at Saddleback Church. Well, sort of. At the very beginning of Pastor Tom Holladay’s teaching on fellowship, I wasn’t even close. My mind had drifted off to the craziest spot you can imagine.
First, floating in my head were images of people telling very personal stories that made everyone cry…and me shaking. Next, I was asked to comment on the teaching and read scripture. C’mon!
The final scene in my warped fellowship movie came when the group was supposed to end. I was trapped–trying to juggle a plastic cup of red juice with a handful of stale cookies—and unable to get out of there and home to watch Survivor.
I know, you can’t make this stuff up.
Once those embarrassing barriers had vacated my mind, I learned that we are compelled to share our life with other believers not because we have something to share or people need something. We are compelled to share because it honors God and subordinates ourselves to God and his Kingdom.
I also learned that fellowship is not a spiritual luxury. It’s a spiritual imperative to move from being ME-centric to being OTHER-centric and walk in the light of Jesus.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
ASKING FOR CONNECTION
Of course God knows how much we need to fellowship with other believers. He made us to be dependent on him and each other in the community of fellowship. But it is not easy to pull that off living in a world that worships individualism and social relativism. So we have to fight for it and ask God for his help and direction to connect us with the people he would join together as our spiritual family.
Then we’re off and running to grow in Christ and experience life together.