One of the most important things in the church is fellowship. It’s imperative for brothers and sisters to be together, not just inside the church, but outside as well. Part of growing in the church is also growing in relationships with one another. We should care for one another, share with one another and bear each other’s burdens. We have to understand how much we need each other in the body of Christ. This is not only good for us to do, but it is the will of God.
Fellowship is a spiritual word, but it’s really not hard to understand. The spiritual part of it is when we build relationships with one another, it produces spiritual things in our lives. It’s not that you’re working hard to be spiritual, you’re just working hard at building relationships with people in the Kingdom of God and the spiritual part just happens. This is one of the reasons why it’s so important for there to be fellowship in the body of Christ.
We all need fellowship. As a pastor, I need the fellowship of other pastors and ministers. There is a strength I feel when I am connecting to another Pastor who is facing some of the same pressures that I am too. I find that my faith is stronger and my vision is clearer when I’m fellowshipping with other leaders in the Kingdom. This is exactly what Solomon meant when he said, “Iron Sharpens Iron”. The fact is, “We’re Better Together”. We just need to make sure we’re together more often.
After the birth of the church in Acts chapter two, one important element that continued on was fellowship. It didn’t just help grow the church, but it was one of the main things that kept the church together through all of the persecution that came against them. When Peter was in prison, the church joined together in fellowship and prayed for his release. I know prayer set him free that night, but I also believe that a united, fellowshipping body of believers played a major part in it as well.
The Holy Ghost fell and the church was born while disciples of Jesus were fellowshipping. In fact, Acts 2:1 says,
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place”.
That word accord comes from a Greek word that means, having the same passion and desire.
Verse 2 says, “And suddenly a sound came from heaven as a rushing mighty wind and filled all the house where they were sitting and they all were filled with the Holy Ghost”.
Notice that they didn’t hear from heaven and they were not filled with the Holy Ghost until they were in one accord. To put it plain…God didn’t send anything until His people began to fellowship, having the same passion and desire. I believe the same thing is true today. No matter what God wants to do for us, until we join together in unity and begin to fellowship, the only stories we’ll have is from the past, not the present.
David said, “Behold how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”. That must be the goal of the of the body of Christ. Our passion and desire should be for fellowship. It doesn’t matter if we carry the same organizational card or not. I’m afraid we spend too much time trying to figure out who we shouldn’t fellowship, instead of looking for people who we can fellowship with.
1 John 1:7 (NKJV)
7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
Our passion and desire should be to grow the Kingdom, not our organizations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against organizations, but remember this, while organizations are man made, the Kingdom is made by God. They have their place in the Kingdom, but they are not the Kingdom. They are to assist, not rule and when that changes, they’ve lost the reason why they exist. I’ve been a member of several organizations and I have found there to be good and bad in all of them. This is not an anti-organization blog, but rather a know your place in the kingdom blog.
When it starts to feel more like a members only club, I don’t think that’s true fellowship. When you start dictating who I can and cannot fellowship with, that’s not true Kingdom culture. However, when an organization has a passion and a desire to help promote the Kingdom by structuring programs to assist, I’m all for it…in fact, I’m actually looking for one like that. I want to be a part of a group of people that are defined by what we agree on, not what we disagree on. I want to come together to make a difference, not make a difference in who comes together.
I recently spent an afternoon with a minister and his wife who decided to leave the organization they had been in for several years. They feel the call of God to make some changes in the next stage of their ministry, but felt like they would be ostracized if they didn’t resign. While they are extremely passionate about what they’re getting ready to do, they also feel alone because of how they’ve been treated. So called friends have disconnected from them and even cancelled my friend from preaching for them. You may ask, what did you say your friend did? He decided to leave their organization. Sadly enough…I know exactly how my friend feels. It’s hard to handle when you find out some of your friends and even family are more loyal to an organization than they are to you.
As a young minister I had heard stories of this happening, but I never would believe that it could actually happen until it happened to me. Please do not misunderstand my blog. This is not a pity-party or an attempt to get even with someone. I literally stand amazed at this. I don’t really have an answer to why this happens…I just know that it’s extremely sad and ungodly. When the hunger for power is stronger than a hunger for unity, something has gotten off track. Father make us one, doesn’t mean we have to agree on every little detail, it just means whatever it takes for us to fellowship, let’s do it!!! The only people the Bible gives us a right to break fellowship with, are those that cause division. The goal is to be in one accord, not sow discord.
As bad as all of that sounds, if we’re not careful, the same divisions can happen in our churches. We can be together in one building, but separated by preferred groups and clicks. Let me repeat something…this is not Kingdom culture. I am fully aware that certain personalities gravitate to one another, but we must have mature disciples that understand the difference in being together and being in unity. As a pastor I stress this to my church all the time. It angers me when people’s actions are nothing more than an agenda to bring division to a church. We are to promote unity in the body of Christ by our words and our actions. It’s not perfect, but so far, our church is a strong, united and fellowshipping group of believers and I love them with all of my heart!!!
We are at our best when we understand how much we need one another. We are the light, the salt and the city set on a hill when our unity is visible to everyone. It’s hard to stretch out our hands to the hurting when we’re busy fighting with our brothers and sisters. We’re called to preach the gospel and to love one another. If you believe Jesus is God and you have been born again, then you are my family and I need you. More than any other time in history…the church must be the church!!! FATHER MAKE US ONE!!!