Help Me Out Here

I’ve mentioned that once May 1 rolls around and I find myself unemployed (aka, “retired”), I plan to finish writing three books I’ve been working on the last year or two. One of them has to do with Christian fellowship.

Or to be more exact, the lack of it in our churches, the need for it, and how to get it.

On the home page for this website, you can click on a long series of articles on prayer and leadership and Romans, but so far we’ve not collected the numerous writings that are scattered throughout on the subject of Christian fellowship. As with so much of what I write, it’s rather random and unorganized and happened to be what was on my mind at the moment.

To turn it into a book, that’ll have to change, and it will. Recently, however, I’ve actually gone back over the last several years and looked at each article to pick out the ones dealing with fellowship in the church. I might have missed some, but here is what I found:

July 27, 2004 — “What Every Pastor Needs: A Good Buddy”

May 23, 2008 — “Why We Came Today”

May 27, 2008 — “Where Everybody Knows Your Name”

May 31, 2008 — “The Greatest Church Growth Principle”

June 20, 2008 — “What Fellowship Looks Like”

June 20, 2008 — “The Most Basic Element is

9 thoughts on “Help Me Out Here

  1. God told Israel, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18) “The alien living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt.” (Lev. 19:34)

    Arrange your life (time, finances and heart)to have the freedom to act when the spirit calls you to love (bear burdens, celebrate with others, have hospitality in your home and serve others). It’s a choice we make every day whether we are intentional about it or not. If your heart is consummed by earthly things, your time is short and your money gone how can you show your love for others? I have had a few fellowship mentors in my life and I think I had a great treasure.

  2. christ said byn this shall all men know that you are my disciple, if youm have love one for another.

    fellowship of those with common beliefs and a common goal is sweet and precious. And it shows the lost that Christ can cause people to change, and to love those, they once despised.

  3. For true fellowship to happen, members must accept one another, including newcomers. I once invited 16 young adults of a church I pastored to my house for fellowship. At a break in the action, I asked what the church could do to become more attractive to their age group (20’s &30’s). NO mention of music or worship styles. All agreed they wanted to feel accepted and valued by the older members.

    In that church – fairly small – as well as other larger churches, I repeatedly found older members had no clue when I mentioned the name of a younger, faithful and energetic member. “Who are they?” was my almost inevitable answer.

    Fellowship must begin in getting to know and share life among the membership. They gotta get outa the beaten paths!

  4. No answers, just question a to consider.

    How does one balance “deeper friendships” within the church and becoming a clique. There seems to be situations where all the relationships in the church are quite shallow while there are others where a new person comes in and then realizes that they will never really be on the inside of this group because they have known and loved each other for so long. Either way, their own need for fellowship is being impeded.

  5. Joe, remember the fellowship at FBC Columbus. Those of us in the Young Married Class had a most difficult time moving up to the next age group. Our leaders were always providing something to get us involved with each other.

  6. Joe,

    I’ve noticed something; even in my own thinking about the subject…it’s all historical. “Do you remember” seems to dominate stories of fellowship I hear – even my own. Is the church hurting today b/c one of its functions is going by the wayside? We have done at few things at FBC Lanett, AL to address this subject (quarterly birthday parties after church & church picnics), but we’ve got a LONG way to go. Thanks for making this a priority.

  7. Sometimes fellowship and ministry overlap, or at least ministry to a newcomer paves the way for fellowship and growth in the body of Christ.

    When my husband and I joined Calvary in Alexandria, we had a ten-week-old infant and two other children. Two weeks after we joined (when the baby was 3 months old), I had a hysterectomy. The Sunday School class that we had attended exactly three times fed my family for weeks while I was recoverying from major surgery and caring for an infant. Every other day, my doorbell would ring and I would find someone new saying, “Hi, my name is ____________, and here’s your dinner.”

    I would expect a healthy church to take such good care of someone who had been serving in the body for many years, but we were brand new and had not yet contributed anything to service in that particular congregation. The ministry of that Sunday School class, though, formed the foundation for beautiful relationships that continue to grow. A crucial component of fruitful fellowship has to include reaching out to include newcomers — I’m forever thankful that Calvary in Alexandria knows this.

  8. I had been attending my church for probably 5 years an I am a part-time staff member. So one would think that I am pretty well comfortable with the church and I was until… Wednesday night dinner, along with my two children tried to set at a table with someone. Although only one seat was taken, we were told that another family sits with her family. Ouch! I went to Wednesday night supper last night and I am still uncomfortable and generally don’t go. I wonder how many others have just simply left because they were told something similar.

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