By: LuAnn Edwards
Church fellowship, both within large and small settings, is something I cannot imagine living without in my walk with Christ. Small groups such as Bible studies, home groups and choir have all been extremely important to my growth in the Lord. With the exception of a few weeks, I have been a part of both large and small groups since accepting the Lord into my life 40 years ago.
As a young adult, I began attending a wonderful church where I was loved and accepted. Joy abounded within this fellowship and I loved developing relationships and getting to know this group of people. They were an important part of keeping me on track and helping me to succeed in my walk with the Lord.
However, there was a struggle going on inside of me.
I loved and needed this group of believers to pray for me, teach me, and encourage me in this new walk with Christ; but at the same time, it was all so new to me, and I just wasn’t sure I could measure up. I made a decision to not attend church; I felt I could be a Christian without it. But what happened is just what the devil wanted to happen. I returned to my old hangouts, hangouts that I should have avoided and friends who I allowed to easily influence me. It wasn’t long until I realized I did need my church’s fellowship and instruction. My caring pastor made a visit to my home to encourage me to return. He assured me that through Christ I could “measure up,” and the Lord had a definite plan for my life. Back to the church I went – back to bountiful blessings in the Lord!
My old friends were not happy with me. They didn’t want me to change and weren’t very accepting of my new faith. However, I felt the Lord drawing me toward my church and fellowship with other believers. These were the friends with whom I now wanted to be with; friends who helped to draw me closer to the Lord and not away from Him.
Fellowship is about encouraging and strengthening one another in love, showing concern toward each other, and growing together as we share the Lord. Fellowship is enhanced when it includes serving in ministry together. This may include singing and worshipping in the choir, raising money as a group to give to those in need, praying together, or sharing our faith on a short-term mission trip. When people connect in unity, much can be accomplished for the Lord.
Throughout the years, I have made many good friends and developed several strong relationships within the church and the small groups that I have been privileged to be a part of. It would be extremely hard to walk the Christian walk and grow in the Lord without others to walk along side of me encouraging, praying for and loving me along the way.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
How about you? Do you have that encouragement?