Yesterday, I had another lesson in why Christian fellowship is so important and why the Bible gives it such a prominent place.
We see this prominent place in The Acts of the Apostles. Luke, the author, gives several summaries of what was happening in the local church. Acts 2 is representative of those summaries: “They [the believers] devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). Notice that they “devoted” themselves to fellowship. “Devoted” is a strong verb that indicates committing by a solemn act.
Notice also that fellowship is connected with such indispensable activities as the apostles’ teaching, prayer, and the breaking of bread. The early church and the Holy Spirit obviously gave fellowship a place of inestimable importance.
Yesterday’s lesson for me came in the form of an informal meeting of the pastors of the largest Baptist churches in Louisiana. I love these yearly meetings.
What is the lesson I learned?
First, I need fellowship. I need fellowship because God made us for relationship, mutual understanding, and encouragement. When I meet with those pastors, I am encouraged and blessed.
Second, Fellowship allows me to learn from others. Those pastors are very much like me. They deal with the same general issues and face similar stress and difficulty. Spending time with them gives me new insight and a different way to look at similar problems.
Third, times of fellowship remind me that I am not alone. Often, Martha will ask me what I learned. I usually smile and say, “I learned that I’m not the only one with challenges and problems.” Actually, that’s not simply a joke. How good it is that I’m not alone. How wonderful to know that other people do similar things and survive and thrive.
Fourth, times of fellowship encourage us and keep us going. Sometimes, we can’t quite enunciate what received, but we do know that something wonderful happened. I really believe that’s what happens as we gather together as the church.
Finally, when I spend time with other believers or other pastors, I have the opportunity to encourage, pray, and bless other people.
Fellwoship is truly a blessed Christian activity.