For a long time now, I have felt that I was missing something very important in the churches that we have attended–fellowship. Now, I know that fellowship isn’t the main purpose of the church, but I believe that it plays a vital role in the church; in fact, it is biblical. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
So, since I can remember that has been something that I have been constantly searching and longing for but never attained, that is until now. Let me clarify, that it isn’t necessarily that people have been outright rude and made me as an outcast, but It is more a feeling of not being accepted as a part of the group. I think that despite my best efforts, I end up falling through the cracks and seem to be forgotten, and the bigger the church the more forgotten I feel. I always felt like maybe it was a “me thing;” like maybe I was too weird or just not cool enough….That is, until I went to Berea Baptist.
I’ll spare you the story on how it is we came to Berea in the first place,but the feeling of being welcomed and accepted were overwhelming; it didn’t hurt to run into a couple people I already knew. Within the first week there, I had been asked to coffee and offered a ride to a bible study, along with lunch afterward! It was so rejuvenating for my soul to finally feel a true, deeper connection with people in church, along with the solid teaching and great music! I felt so relieved, happy, and welcomed; for the first time when we went to church, I felt like I was home.
So, my brothers and sisters in Christ, take heart, there is hope in finding a place where you can have true fellowship. If you do not feel called to leave the church you are at, but instead feel a struggle for fellowship, perhaps be the fellowship that you wish to see. How does that look, you might ask?
Being the fellowship that you wish to see in your church can look very different from person to person. For me, personally, fellowship looks like going above and beyond for the new people who enter the doors of your church. It is more than just the subtle “Hello” and “How are you doing?,” it is an actual pursuit of the person. It’s taking the time after church to really talk to others, to perhaps invite them out to lunch, to find them on social media sites and interact with them there as well.
I think many times, churches emphasize and focus on the size of their congregation and think, the bigger the better! However, I feel like it can hurt the fellowship of the church (not always, but sometimes, in my opinion). For instance, the church where we were going had 350 or so in attendance for one service alone, and it seemed like when the service let out they were all on a mission to either just leave or grab their kids and run. It seemed hard pressed to stand around more than three minutes and talk to someone without them getting antsy to go. Whereas, Berea has 150 or so people in attendance, and it seems like they are more open to sticking around and talking after the service.
In a sense, I feel like fellowship can be contagious. For instance, when I first came to Berea I was overwhelmed by peoples kind and welcoming spirit, and it reignited in me the desire to do the same. So, because two or three people were kind and inviting to me, I feel myself wanting to do the same for other new people who come to the church, so I am pursuing the people who I have already met, as well as the new faces that I see, whether they are new or not (we are still fairly new, so I am still learning names and faces).
It took me so long to find the fellowship I had so desired, but I hope my story gives you a peace and comfort in knowing that it can happen. However, if you are waiting to find that perfect fellowship, maybe you can provide that fellowship where you are now, and others will catch on. Give others the fellowship bug and show them what they are missing out on!