Why Christian Fellowship is Important
By Michael McFarland
"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." (Hebrews 10:25)
The writer of Hebrews clearly stresses that fellowship is very important. True Christian fellowship can accomplish so much in a person's life. Sometimes we feel that we don't need fellowship and that we can do things on our own. This individualistic way of thinking is not how Jesus intended for us to think and He shows us that throughout His Word. Also, a church will never grow to its full capacity if there is not a love for fellowship. Our English word, “fellowship” is the translation of the Greek word, “koinonia.”
"Koinonia": meaning "close association; communion; close relationship." It is the most frequently used word for fellowship, sharing, and communion. This speaks of the act of using a thing in common.
The word "fellowship" is found numerous times throughout the Bible. In the Greek New Testament, the word koinonia occurs nineteen times. This beautiful Greek word has become almost as popular in English-speaking congregations as the well-known agape (love). Fellowship groups and Bible classes are sometimes called "koinonias." Fellowship is one of the four staples of the New Testament church, along with the apostles' doctrine, prayer, and the breaking of bread (Acts 2:42). We are called unto the fellowship of Jesus Christ.
"God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:9)
We are also admonished to refrain from fellowshipping with those that are not believers and workers of unrighteousness.
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Corinthians 6:14)
The Bible shows us two important aspects of Christian fellowship. For fellowship to be complete in our lives we have to have both. A fellowship with God (1 John 1:3) and with our fellow brethren (1 John 1:7). It is a vertical and horizontal relationship and we can't have one without the other.
What does fellowship actually mean? It is good sometimes to look at our own English dictionary for more insight on a word that we think we are quite familiar with. Upon closer examination, we can find out that what we thought a wordmeantis not exactly what it actually means. According to Mirriam-Webster the word fellowship means this:
1 : companionship, company
2 : community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience
3 : a company of equals or friends : association
4 : the quality or state of being comradely
5 obsolete : membership, partnership
Fellowship is important for Pastors. With all of the duties of being a Pastor and all of the responsibilities that come with being an overseer of the church, sometimes fellowship is something that we don't seem to have time for. Isolation is one of the most dangerous things that can occur in our lives and sometimes we don't even see it until it's too late. Sometimes isolation isn't something we bring upon ourselves but is the result of certain circumstances. Whatever the case may be, we need to somehow find someone Godly to fellowship with. Find time to fellowship with the people of your church. Reach out to the other Pastors in your city. There is strength in numbers. It's good to know that when you need someone to pray for you, that you have a network of friends who have your back. Or, when you need that word of encouragement that someone of like precious faith (2 Peter 1:1) is there to give you that word.
"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." (Proverbs 27:17)
Fellowship is important for our church body. It is very important to get our church body together as often as possible. Of course, we gather for our weekend services, mid-week services, youth services and prayer meetings. But it is as equally important for us to gather outside of our church services as well. Dinner on the grounds, youth activities, youth trips and recreational activities are just a few ideas of getting people together. When we do these things, not only can the church bond with people that they normally don't get to talk to that much at church, but we have the opportunity to invite guests to an event outside of church to see that we are really normal people. They are able to make friends in a neutral setting and develop relationships with people and therefore they feel more comfortable coming to church now because they know someone there. Soon after, they start telling their friends to come hang out at our different fellowship meetings and all of a sudden we have revival in our churches!
"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)