What is “fellowship” anyway??
The word “fellowship” takes me back to Bayvale Baptist Church, circa 1985. In my mind I can be in that church fellowship hall standing in line for dinner. My Meme and many of her friends were in the fellowship hall kitchen keeping all the food coming out to the tables where all good Baptists would fill their plates and have a “fellowship.”
Or would they?
Even this evening our Sunday School Class will be gathering at someone’s home for a good old fashioned bonfire—chili cookoff and s’mores galore! Now THAT is going to be a fun fellowship.
Or will it?
I John 1:3 says, “what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.”
Fellowship. It can strike some as an old-fashioned word. It means “a class get- together” to others. Some interchange it with how connected they feel with other people. In the context of Sunday School (which is just the title for groups of people who get together and study God’s Word together on Sunday), it seems to also be tied to unity and friendships. If someone feels connected and welcomed, then they have fellowship with others in the class…or so they think.
But this week I ran across an explanation by G. Campbell Morgan that intrigued me and has been rolling around in my head all week long. He writes that I John 1:3 is one of the greatest of all statements in the New Testament. He also took me back to Acts as he explained the definition of the word “fellowship.”
“The Greek word ‘koinonia’ is derived from the word ‘koinos,’ which very literally means common, in the sense of being shared
by all. The use of that word koinos, or common, in our New Testament, which will help us most in this consideration, is that
made of it by Luke when he declared that ‘All that believed were together, and had all things common’ (Acts 2:44). Fellowship
then is that community of relationship which expresses itself in community or resource and responsibility. Those who have a
fellowship one with another are those who share the same resources, and are bound by the same responsibilities.”
Oh! So it really isn’t about how fun class parties are or how warm and welcoming others are to ME on Sunday or how I feel about how I fit in a group of people or what they do that fits in with MY priorities, per se. There truly is much more to fellowship, and yet it is so simple.
Do I share resources with these people?
Do I share responsibilities with these people?
If yes, then I have fellowship with them.
And to add a whole ‘nother level of amazingness…..look back at I John 1:3. We can have fellowship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Now how is that?
G. Campbell says it so well, “The Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and all believers have all things in common. All the resources of each in the wondrous relationship are at the disposal of the others. Such is the grace of our God, and of His Son.” God chooses to let me share the responsibility of sharing the Good News of Jesus with others. He also gives me all of His Spirit to provide all I need to do just that. Amazing.
I’m so thankful that because of Jesus’ love poured out for me on the Cross, I can have fellowship with the Father and with Jesus. Then, He has chosen to plant me here in Woodstock, GA where I am a part of the body of Christ at a church called First Baptist Woodstock. Through sharing resources and responsibilities, we work to make much of Jesus Christ in many different ways. On an even smaller scale, Josh teaches a group of Young Adults the Bible each week. We share common resources. We share responsibilities. We have fellowship.
It’s really not about you at all.