I John 1:6-7 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Following the general theme from the prior two weeks’ blogs (Fitting in or belonging…? and Going it alone…), I’d like to look at fellowship communities. Research is showing that Church attendance is dwindling. There are many factors contributing to this decline. In fact, there are too many factors and opinions to summarize in this article. This week is about the opportunities for fellowship both within the Church and outside of Church.
Church only meets corporately a couple of times a week. Following God is a full time commitment. Many Churches offer groups beyond the regular meeting times. These are great places to create deeper relationships beyond a corporate type setting. But what if the Church is small and cannot offer these types of fellowship? What if what is being offered does not match up with my schedule? What if I don’t “belong” in that group?
Through the years, I have been able to have other fellowship opportunities with both coed groups and groups of men. Many of these groups had a short-lived purpose and were quite fulfilling. However, once the lifetime of the group had run out, I was missing the fellowship community it had created. Fortunately for me, I work in a Christian environment where the focus is Christian education. But not everyone has that opportunity.
Another group for me has spun off of my close association with The Crucible Project. I have mentioned this organization in times past. TCP’s committed to helping men become who God made them to be through authentic Christian living. The groups I lead are Christian fellowships that take me deeper to my soul work than a corporate Church setting is able. However, not everyone has a setting like this in his/her life. So what do you do? What kind of fellowship does one look for?
I think there are some key components needed for this type of fellowship. One, it needs to help me build my gifts for the Kingdom and corporate Church life. Two, it must have Jesus as center. Three, all involved must be real and welcomed knowing all have skeletons in the closet. Four, there must be accountability. I am not talking about confession, but holding members to integrity within their walk with Jesus and others. Finally, it must meet frequently.
You may be able to find this in your workplace. It is possible that there are other believers who you work with and already see you as you are. You could start your own small fellowship community. Now, I am not advocating leave the corporate body of Church. In fact, any fellowship outside should enhance and build up one’s gifts to be used more fully in the corporate setting. Your own fellowship community can be simply a Bible study to start. After some time, you could incorporate the components as the group begins to feel safe for all.
No matter the circumstance, I believe God wants me in fellowship with other believers. This includes both a corporate Church setting and other fellowship communities. My challenge for my readers is to examine where you are in your fellowship circles. Find where God is working and join others in building each other up.
1. How would you define fellowship?
2. What do you think about “other” fellowship communities outside the Church walls?
3. What is missing in your walk with God?
4. This week, take inventory on your fellowship with others. What needs to change? What needs to be enhanced?
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