If you've gone to church, chances are you've heard the term fellowship. Maybe you've even heard the term outside the church setting but perhaps you've asked, “What is fellowshipping?”
The basic definition of fellowship is: a friendly association with people who share similar interests as you. It's where mutual support can be found. You can have a fellowship with the ladies in your scrapbooking club or volleyball team. There are fellowships in homeschool and professional organizations as well. For instance, when I was a full-time working mama, I was a secretary for a business fellowship geared toward supporting local oil-heat service companies.
Fellowship is the feeling of mutuality, enthusiasm and devotion that comes from being in a group setting. I love my blog network (fellowship) groups because they spur me on to try new things and learn new techniques, and because they're a safe place to share my struggles and ask questions.
Since fellowship can have many connotations, let's explore what Christian fellowship looks like.
Jesus is the center of all of our spiritual disciplines. With fellowship, the one thing that differs from many gatherings and fellowship clubs is that Jesus is the center and the foundation of the fellowship. There are many feel-good fellowship organizations that do good, bring the community together and even meet the needs of those who are hurting. No matter how good their works, they are missing Jesus. My friend calls them fake churches.
In Acts 2 we can see what the early church did as they fellowshipped at Pentecost.
“Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common; and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
~ Acts 2: 43-47
What did fellowship look like to the disciples?
1 – They Were Together – “And all those who had believed were together…”
2 – They Had a Common Interest – “…and they had all things in common.”
3 – They Shared and Met the Needs of Others – “….and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.”
4 – They Shared Meals Daily – “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart….”
5 – They Praised God Together – “….praising God and having favor with all the people.”
Fellowship is what holds us together. “Us” can be our family, our marriage or the church. When we fellowship together as a church, be it in a large gathering or in small home groups, we are building relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We cannot all hang out together 24-7, so how do we apply these principles practically to our lives?
Group Gatherings – Gather with the sisters in your church and chat over a meal or coffee. Last week, we had a wonderful time of fellowship at a local restaurant. The ladies from our church got together for a meal. There was a short (as in, like 5 minute) message shared and the rest of the time was spent catching up, laughing and praying together. It was a great way for newer ladies to build relationships and for other to reconnect.
Coffee or Tea – Get together with someone over coffee or tea once a week or once a month. Be intentional about meeting with them regularly, or maybe meet with someone different every month. Build relationships with your fellow believers.
Grab a Pepsi and Watch the Game – I'm stealing this right from Pastor Mark's message. Guys and gals alike, if you're into sports, go to a restaurant and hang out together or hang out at home. Think how much more uplifting the conversation is with a fellow believer than the old crew who got drunk and puked on your deck. (True story, sadly.) You have something in common – use that as a means of connection. The same is true with hunting or fishing.
Use Technology – My stepdad travels for his job. He's rarely ever home for more than a few days. Last week he was in London; next week he'll be in Georgia. The only ways for us to connect are Skype and text messaging. Now granted, texting isn't exactly “fellowship.” But sometimes just saying hi to someone via text will get the ball rolling and can lead to a lunch date or a dinner with your families. Skype, Facetime and the good old fashion telephone are wonderful ways to use technology to hang out with those you love who aren't close by.
Meet A Need Together – Serving your community together to meet the needs of others is a great way to fellowship.
Be Intentional – Overall, intentionally carve out time for fellowship in your week or month. Don't be so overly committed that you have no nuclear family time, but make it a point to fellowship as often as you can. Now, I'm off to take my own advice and email a friend and see about dinner with another.
How do you fellowship with your church family and friends?
This is part 4 in our series 4 Disciplines Every Christ-Follower Needs. Catch up with us here: