Joining Together for the Long Haul
By Rev. John B. Sorensen
As Christians, we are encouraged to befriend and spend time with other believers. Many call this “fellowship.” But true Christian fellowship involves so much more than simply hanging out and talking about the news, sports, and weather. True Christian fellowship is purposeful in helping us grow in faith. It’s one of the tools God uses to grow us deeper in Christ.
How does He do that? Well, in essence, fellowship is a partnership based on our shared relationship with Christ that strives to encourage, edify, and serve one another. Let’s explore that further.
We meet like-minded people every day – in our workplaces, churches, the gym, community groups, and even online. Some of these connections become friendships because we share a passion, a goal, or an interest. But when we meet someone who shares our faith, that connection is richer. We share a relationship with our Lord and Savior!
Christian fellowship goes deeper than any friendship. As believers, we don’t just share a common faith. We share life together – the joys and the hardships. “They devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42, NIV). Sharing testimonies of what Christ is doing in and through us is the foundation for true fellowship.
Source of Encouragement.
Fellowship with other believers helps us grow in our faith. We can hold each other accountable in spending time reading the Bible. When we are struggling, our Christian brothers and sisters can come around us and pray. We are not on this journey alone. They are walking beside us and remind us of the power and provision of our Heavenly Father.
Like all relationships, fellowship is a two-way street. It encourages us and builds our faith as we encourage, edify, and serve each other. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5 that the Gospel of salvation is Good News and that we should continue to “encourage one another and build each other up” (v. 11). This is part of our ministry.
Partnership in the Gospel.
Ultimately, fellowship pushes us to advance the Gospel. We have the opportunity to not just encourage each other to grow in our faith, but to encourage each other to share that faith as well. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25, NIV).
When we partner together to take the Gospel around the world, God uses us to change lives for eternity. Isn’t that amazing? And that can have an eternal impact.
So here’s the question: Do your relationships help you grow in your faith? Do they change the lives of people around you? God calls us into true Christian fellowship with other believers around us, but not just so we won’t be lonely. He wants us to join together to share His love with the world.
Rev. John B. Sorensen, D.D. is the President/CEO of Evangelism Explosion International, headquartered in Arden, N.C. EE has been a leader in equipping Christians to share their faith for more than 50 years. For more free tips and resources, visit evangelismexplosion.org, or follow John on Twitter, @jbsoresen.
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