Though not the only way, we feel that fellowship groups, which meet at various times throughout the week, are one way to make membership meaningful. Though the format for each group will differ slightly, all affirm the importance of growing together through relational honesty, camaraderie, and Scriptural exhortation.
Why prioritize regular fellowship with your church family? The Bible is filled with warnings and encouragements for practicing ‘meaningful membership.’
Regular fellowship is an important means of sanctification.
In passages like Hebrews 5:14, notice how discernment is something only honed by constant use. Ergo, if you spend all your time avoiding those situations which require you to exercise discernment, it (and you) will remain a dull tool in a forgotten drawer.
Sometimes we think that the work of sanctification is a process that somehow magically happens apart from our participation. But that isn’t the case. To be sure, God must work salvation in us; in response however, we must also work out the implications of that salvation with both fear and trembling. A salvation which doesn’t strive for greater holiness is also one, we are told, that will not see God (Heb 12:14.)
Likeness to Christ is only something we can hope for as we give ourselves, with the Spirit’s help, to healthy habits and routines - daily Scripture meditation, honest prayer, and participation in meaningful church fellowship. If your view of fellowship is haphazard, it shouldn't come as a surprise if it’s difficult to feel enthusiastic about Sunday mornings.
Regular fellowship is a means to greater joy in the Christian life.
Maybe you struggle to look forward to time together as a church. Perhaps it seems impossible to get the kids fed and out the door in time, or maybe you’re finding it difficult to see the personal relevance of a certain sermon series. If you find yourself in this place, take some time to think about the following words from Eric Bancroft:
“. . .sharing in community is not simply the path to obedience. This is the route to joy. Paul says to rejoice in Christ—the object of our joy. However, that fount supplies a river runs through the New Testament community. There is the joy of having others to imitate and emulate in the Christian life (Phil. 3:17). There is joy because of others’ expressing concern for you (4:10). There is joy in knowing that God has given others to console us in our affliction, not in sympathy but in empathy (2 Cor. 1:4). There is joy in knowing how your love for the Lord and obedience to His Word encourage others to do the same (1 Thess. 1:8–9). There is joy in knowing that you are a part of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession” (1 Peter 2:9).”
Regular fellowship helps us perceive and fight against sin.
If you’re at all honest, you know that isolation is an incubation chamber for sin. Here I’m not even talking about explicit, disgusting sin - I’m talking lovelessness, materialism, self-preservation, and investing too much time and resources on things of little consequence. These are the kinds of “respectable sins” which, unaddressed, go on to wreak quiet destruction and extinguish our love for Christ.
While we often assume a finely tuned self-awareness, we often don’t see ourselves as accurately as others can. This is a large reason we prioritize meaningful membership at our church - not in a gossipy, meddling way, but to affirm the expectation that to be in Christ’s church is to know and be known by others, and that this knowledge is vital to true fellowship.
Regular fellowship speaks volumes to a watching world.
In Acts 5, we are told that the fledgling Christian church was “held in high regard by all the people.” Though this is not always the case (and soon ceased to be in the following chapters) the crowd recognized that this particular gathering was more than simply people with similar interests coming together. There was a divine component to this fellowship.
We live in a time of disintegrating community. Lions clubs, shriners clubs, and many similar organizations that have traditionally fostered this sense of community and social awareness are all dwindling in numbers. Believe it or not, turning down an event on Sunday because you see the need for hearing God’s word with your church family is a huge testimony to others - and a great opportunity to explain why it’s so important!
Please see the calendar to see all active Fellowship Groups.
If you have any questions about fellowship groups, or are interested in hosting one, please contact us!