Archive for March, 2017

My fellowshipping has always been a mixed bag. I both enjoy and am disappointed by it. I started out in life being very introverted with only a few friends and have gradually migrated to being in the middle of the introvert- extrovert scale. One of the major reasons for this migration has been the benefits I have received from being in small groups and mentoring others. I have received camaraderie, encouragement, and care, and have helped others. Thus, I am a believer in the importance of fellowship, even if I don’t enjoy it sometimes.

Many people in our society are disconnected from meaningful relationships. They are isolated and lonely. They don’t seem to know that IPhones and Facebook are poor substitutes for life-to-life relationships. Thus, as I greet people at church, I look for ways to connect to them meaningfully- to fellowship with them at the deepest levels that are appropriate.

For example, last Sunday, I talked to a man who is being developed as a future pastor about some of the challenges that this will bring him. Also, I talked to a young man who is pursuing his dream of a career that differs from what society or even his parents think is best for him. He helped me to more deeply realize that my identity came from who I was and not from what I did. Finally, I talked to a third person about his family and some of his personal issues. Each was a meaningful interaction lasting at least 10 minutes and I believe guided by the Holy Spirit.

Fellowship is communicating with other Christians at various levels of depth in the power of the Holy Spirit (1 John 1:7). For example, the men in our small group met over breakfast recently. I was tempted to try to structure the time and ask questions that would help them connect in deeper ways. But God led otherwise. We just had friendly conversations that focused on day-to-day challenges. I sensed that this is what God wanted us to talk about. It was a relationship-building exercise that would enable us to have deeper conversations at another time.

We need to love, help, and encourage one other (1 Corinthians 14:26). This is why it’s so dangerous to isolate ourselves. Satan likes to pick off Christians who have wandered from the fold by not being in fellowship by discouraging and hardening them to sin.

For example, one of the members of our small group had been going through some difficult circumstances. At first, he decided to drop out of the fellowship and to try to fix himself without any help. But his life continued to fall apart as he stayed away from nearly all the Christians that cared about him. Fortunately, after three weeks, he learned how much he needed fellowship and returned.

We need each other desperately to grow and prosper as Christians. As we express acceptance, kindness, truth, respect and vulnerability to each other, we are encouraged, instructed and challenged. We also need models of how to live godly in the nitty-gritty of life. Many times, people have said that they are greatly encouraged just being around people in our small group because they see how to live out what they are studying in the Bible.

So, are you going to conform to the many people in your world who are disconnected from deep relationships? Or are you going to commit to meaningful fellowship with other Believers? It’s really not an option if we hope to live lives in which God will one day say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21).


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