4 Ways to Have More Meaningful Christian Fellowship in Your Life
Sportsmen “get” fellowship. We love being together in camp or in a duck blind sharing the outdoor lifestyle. Often those relationships go beyond the wild into everyday life. It’s a fraternity of sorts. A brotherhood.
But what about the church? This topic has dominated so many of my conversations over the last several weeks. There is an outcry among Christians, at least in my part of the world, for more meaningful fellowship.
That outcry points to a handful of potential symptoms. First, there may be a true shortage of teaching concerning the nature of fellowship among God’s people. Second, it could mean there is an internal, widespread lack of willingness to pursue and invest in fellowship of this kind. It could also mean God’s Spirit is beginning to reveal a deep need for biblically-fueled discipling relationships that reflect a more accurate picture of God’s will for his church. The deeper implication reveals—and it’s alarming—the existence of a lot of lonely believers.
As concerning as the case may be, it’s very cool to hear Christians say, “I need more meaningful fellowship in my life.” It means they are tired of the same superficiality to which they have become so accustomed. The Spirit in them is prodding them toward what they really do need.
The challenge comes when you pose the question, “What does that fellowship need to include to be more meaningful?” The following list isn’t exhaustive, but these aspects of fellowship are at the heart of every conversation I’ve had on this topic regarding what Christians are seeking.
1. Remember that Christ is the unifier of your fellowship.
Edifying Christian fellowship, while Christ-like to the unregenerate, is predicated on the justifying work of the Son of God and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. We should absolutely build relationships with those who reject the idea that Christ is the Son of God and seek to testify to them that he is the only way to heaven. However, those relationships should not look the same as the relationships we have with other Christians.
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 tells us, “What portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?” Christ is the allotment given to his people. God does not call those who reject Christ’s sons or daughters but continues to show them compassion and common grace. Just as God’s love for the believer differs from his love for the unbeliever, so also should our relationships with unbelievers follow the same pattern.
In order for Christian fellowship to find its unification, Christ must be the unifier. When we gather for corporate worship, we gather under the implication that we recognize Jesus as the Christ, the Promised One, the Son of God. Because he is our portion, our love for Jesus and for each other is filled with the power and promise of his atonement, an understanding of God’s word, and the access to God that we have through prayer.
2. Continually seek to love one another.
This love, of course, is defined in the same way God’s love is defined for us. God has given his Son for our salvation. We must also give of ourselves for the edification and maturity of the church. This includes considering others, praying for them, discipling them, and helping in their time of need.
Jesus made it clear that Christian love for one another held such value that it was to be the badge by which the world would know that we are his disciples (John 13:35).
The importance of this in meaningful fellowship can’t be overstated. In almost every interaction I’ve had with Christians who are feeling lonely or seeking more meaningful fellowship with other Christians, unselfish love is one of the most sought-after elements.
But here is the qualifier of Jesus’ statement: we are to love “one another.” This is not a one-sided love. It is a love that contains two people giving, even sacrificing, of themselves for the enrichment and strengthening of each other.
In order for our fellowship with other Christians to feel more meaningful, it is absolutely necessary for us to first ask ourselves, “Am I loving as Christ loved?”
3. Hold up God’s word with reverence in your conversations.
I can think of almost no instances growing up in church where we sat at a good old-fashioned potluck and suddenly a discussion over Scripture broke out. Typically, there may have been a short “devotional” tacked on to the program, usually led by the pastor or a Sunday school teacher, but it was seldom moving to my soul.
Colossians 3:16 says that Christians are to “let the word of God dwell in us richly.” When we are together with fellow believers, we should not tuck away God’s word. Its richness should exude from God’s people. We should be eager to share what God’s word says as we speak into one another’s lives. If Christian fellowship is to gather under the banner of Christ in a meaningfully way, then holding up God’s word more highly in our conversations is a non-negotiable.
4. Pray regularly with and for one another.
We either believe that prayer is our communication with God and that he is sovereign over that communication or we do not. There is no in-between. Prayer ought to be a part of our fellowship with and for one another.
John Piper describes prayer as a “war-time walkie talkie” in his book Let the Nations Be Glad. Within the context of missions, Piper paints the picture of prayer as being the supply line of power and resources to the front line of a battle. We can apply this same metaphor to the function of prayer in our fellowship with other Christians. Powerful, meaningful fellowship among God’s people can only be possible when those people are in regular communication with God.
Jim Richman is an author, speaker, and outdoorsman. He is Editor-in-Chief of Journal of a Christian Sportsman, a blog for Christian outdoorsmen from around the world. To find out more about Jim, you can see his full bio here.
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