Rethinking Christian “Fellowship”
I’ve been to a lot of “fellowships” in my time as a Christian. Super Bowl fellowships. Swimming fellowships. Basketball fellowships. Disney fellowships. Movie fellowships. Halloween fellowships.
They were all great and I had a ton of fun. Some of my best friendships were built at those. But I don’t know if we can call it a fellowship. Sure, it was Christians hanging out together, but we weren’t doing anything related to our faith. We were watching sports and eating chicken wings. We were dressing up like Disney characters or superheroes. We were watching the Hunger Games.
Christians often say things like, “I am going to the restaurant with you all, but I’m not going to eat. I’m just going for the fellowship.”
I’m not sure the Bible has this kind of mentality on what fellowship is. I’m not sure fellowship in the Bible is the same thing as hanging out with people.
“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” -Acts 2:42
“We who had sweet fellowship together walked in the house of God in the throng.” -Psalm 55:14
“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” -Philippians 2:1-2
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s important to hang out with people outside of “Jesus settings” but fellowship is something much deeper than watching the Super Bowl. Fellowship is deeper family time in which brothers and sisters strive to lead each other farther in Christ and grow in him.
Think about it. If you are trying to have fellowship with Christ, you don’t just sit in your living room and say you are hanging out with Jesus. You spend time in the Word. You spend time in prayer. You sing praises. Likewise, the Bible describes Christian fellowship in that way.
“speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” -Ephesians 5:19-21
“Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” -Colossians 3:16
“ and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” -Hebrews 10:24-25
Again, I think it is good for Christians to hang out with one another. I do it all the time. But let us seek for our “fellowship” to be more than eating chicken wings and watching television, barely talking because we are caught up in the action on the screen.
Rather, let our fellowship be a time when we encourage one another, build one another up, gracefully get in each others’ faces, and discuss Jesus. All of this so that those in the fellowship can grow to know Jesus and love Jesus more.