As the new year approaches, there are several experiences of the past year that I reflect on. I finished another year of school, started new jobs, met new people, lost a loved one, and experienced successes and failures. Although many different things happened during the past year, they all had one thing in common. There were brothers and sisters in Christ sharing these experiences with me.
Whether I was rejoicing, hurting, learning, or struggling, there were believers by my side who were a part of these times. One of the greatest blessings that God has given us is our family in Christ. Christian fellowship is one of life’s sweetest experiences, and is a vital part of a healthy church. The Lord has used this past year to teach me about Christian fellowship, and the following are several things he has taught me.
Fellowship is encouraging
Encouragement is one of the primary reasons the Lord provided us with a family of believers. There are several things that encourage me when I fellowship with other believers. If we meditate on
Scripture, I am encouraged by what the Lord teaches us. If we share experiences or challenges we are facing, I am encouraged by their counsel.
If we are simply hanging out and having a good time, then I am encouraged by the joy that we share together. Fellowship is a necessary part of the believer’s life because it is a primary source of the encouragement that we need to live our lives as faithful followers of Christ.
Fellowship is welcoming
I spent 3 months of this past year in Detroit, MI. I had never been there, and I knew very few people there. The warm welcome, hospitality, and generosity of the believers I met in that city were
a tremendous encouragement to me. It is exciting to go to a new place and meet fellow believers in Christ.
The Lord used the believers in my church, the believers I worked with, and other believers I met to be a blessing to me while I was in Detroit. It is incredible to know that wherever I go, even in a strange, new place, I have a family of believers ready to welcome me and fellowship with me.
Fellowship rejoices and mourns
Being part of a family means that we share both the joy and pain of our fellow believers. When a brother or sister experiences blessing, we should rejoice with them. Seeing their happiness should
bring us joy. When they suffer pain or loss, we should mourn with them. Seeing them suffer should grieve us. And whether a believer is rejoicing or suffering, we must always be ready to encourage them.
If they experience joy, encourage them to praise the Lord for his blessing. If they suffer loss, encourage them by reminding them that the Lord is in control and cares for them. I have learned that for every up or down I experience in life, there is a believer that is close to me that has experienced that same up or down, and they are always there to provide me with wisdom,
comfort, and encouragement.
Fellowship is a learning experience
The Lord will use fellowship to teach us. One of the aspects of fellowship that I enjoy the most is hearing what the Holy Spirit is laying on the hearts of others. I also like to hear what is going on in
their lives and what the Lord is teaching them through it. Older believers are also a joy to have a conversation with because they have a life full of learning experiences. All believers, whether
young or old, should fellowship with open hearts and be ready to learn what the Lord wants to teach them through fellowship.
Fellowship is a testimony to the world
Believers are not the only ones who learn from Christian fellowship. The world is watching us, and our fellowship is one of our greatest testimonies. We must challenge ourselves to make sure that
our fellowship is loving and Christ-honoring. We must also make sure that it is genuine. The way we love and care for one another will speak tremendously to the unsaved around us.
If your church is having a fellowship time, invite the unsaved people you know. Seeing true Christian fellowship might change their lives. It may just be what they are looking for. Seeing how Christians love one another should be a demonstration of how Christ loves us.
As a family, believers should be ready and willing to share with one another. When sharing is mentioned, financial sharing is usually what comes to mind. Although financial sharing is
important, and should be done if it is necessary and a believer is able to, there are other things we should share with each other. Time is something we can all share with one another. Take time to
fellowship with other believers.
Visit with them, go places with them, and make time to help them if they need it. Food is always a popular way of sharing. Have a meal with someone. Invite them over or out for dinner. There are several brothers in my meeting who enjoy grilling, and we have had several enjoyable and profitable evenings barbecuing together. Food often facilitates great fellowship.
We can also share our homes and possessions with other believers. My family has often opened their home to fellow believers, and as a result, we have had many wonderful times of fellowship, and I have met and been able to spend time with believers who have been a great encouragement in my life. When we are willing to share, the Lord will use it as a blessing to others and to us.
Fellowship can be fun
Although there are times when fellowship should be serious, there are many times that fellowship can be fun. The Lord blessed my church with several new families this year, and we had a wonderful year fellowshipping with the new members of our church family.
Whether it was games night, meals, or playing ball, we had fun during these fellowship activities. There are also times when tasks that are not typically fun become fun when done with other believers. These tasks give you the chance to spend time with other people and the fellowship you share can make it an enjoyable experience.
Fellowship honors the Lord
When we fellowship, we must be sure that our primary goal is to honor the Lord. If an activity is not Christ honoring, it is not true Christian fellowship. When we seek to honor the Lord with our
fellowship, he will bless that fellowship and use it as a time of encouragement, comfort, learning, and love. Giving God the glory should always be the goal of the believer.