Life is meant to be shared.
When I think of all the most memorable moments in my life, they are most memorable because of the people I shared them with. One of the best surf trips I have ever been on was to an island in Indonesia called Sumbawa. We had good waves, not the best waves I’ve ever surfed but it wasn’t the waves that I remember. It’s the laughs, the conversations, the shared memories with some of my closest friends.
“God intends for us to experience life together.”Rick Warren
There’s a good old bible word for this shared experience, it’s called fellowship. The understanding of fellowship has in some cases been watered down to mean socialising or simply attending a gathering. But the biblical meaning of the word is so much deeper, it means to experience life together.
It involves sacrificial love, partnership, generosity, honesty and collaboration. It’s the essence of community.
When it comes to fellowship, size matters: Smaller is better. There are good things to enjoy in a crowd but true fellowship can only take place in a small group. If we look at Jesus and the way he approached life in community, he had a focus on a small group. He enjoyed the life together with only a handful of people.
It’s vital to find yourself in a small group of likeminded, faith filled people. In our community of faith which we call “Co- Church” we have a saying, we want to be a church of groups who gather, not a gathering who groups.
Does belonging to a small group of people automatically result in genuine community? Unfortunately, not all of the time. It takes all of us having a conviction about what community we want to be a part of and then being intentional to see it as a reality.
What is the difference between real and fake fellowship?
- Real fellowship is about us all being authentic. It’s genuine, heartfelt, gut-level sharing. It’s creating a safe space and then being vulnerable in that safety. When people get honest, with grace as the tone, real fellowship occurs. Authenticity is the exact opposite of what you find in some churches. Instead of honesty and humility there is pretence, role-playing and a contrived atmosphere. No one likes that.
- In real fellowship people experience mutuality. This is the art of giving and receiving. It’s being interdependent and sharing responsibilities.
- Experiencing sympathy is a vital component of real fellowship. Sympathy is about entering into and sharing the experience of others, even if that is pain.
- Mercy exists in real fellowship. A community of faith, a church, should be a place of grace. Forgiveness is powerful. Grace doesn’t just look over peoples failings, it walks alongside to see wholeness and healing take place. Grace doesn’t turn a blind eye to people intentionally harming others and certainly doesn’t allow for abuse. Real fellowship is about accountability and seeing lives moving forward into new ways of living.
Remember – We all need others in our life.
Key Bible Verse – “Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other’s troubles.” Galations 6:2
Pray – Lord, give me the courage to open my life to others and the strength to step in and share their burdens.
We are wanting to launch and host circles of community, small groups wherever people are willing and where there is a need. If you want to see a circle formed with us as Co- Church just let me know.