When you think about the word “fellowship,” what do you think of? Potlucks? Game nights? Small groups? That was my concept of fellowship for a long time.
All of those activities certainly provide the opportunity to fellowship with one another on a certain level. But the concept of fellowship actually goes deeper than that. Much deeper.
The roots of fellowship
In fact, fellowship finds its roots in God Himself. It’s what’s been going on within Him from eternity past. There are certain characteristics to it. There are specific activities that are happening. Identifying them helps to deepen our understanding of what fellowship is.
The Greek word for fellowship (koinonia) carries with it deep relational tones marked by words like communion, partnership and joint participation.
For many Christians, their experience of fellowship stays at a social level. They rarely experience the kind of relational depth the word is communicating. This is unfortunate because a depth of fellowship is what the life of a healthy church is built on.
What fellowship consists of
In fact, God’s Life, or His fellowship, IS the life of a church. The Gospel of John says this…
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. (John 17:3)
He is our Life. Knowing Him is knowing the same fellowship going on within Him. It’s experiencing it and expressing it through our bodies to one another.
If you observe how the Persons within God operate, there’s one word that encapsulates it…together. Their activities display their togetherness.
They hear one another, see one another, behold one another, touch one another, give to one another, and submit to one another. Every thought they have toward one another is unselfish.
There’s no imbalance in these activities. They do all of them together. This is the only way they could be One.
What breaks down fellowship
Imbalance in “one-anothering” is what breaks down the fellowship we were designed to be a part of. Imbalance is created by our individualism. We struggle with togetherness because of our selfish ambitions.
Imbalance in one-anothering is not motivated by God’s Life.
I love how Milt Rodriguez describes fellowship in a healthy Christian community in his book The Community Life of God…
Christian community means living a life of interdependence, support, service, communion, sharing, and solidarity with brothers and sisters in Christ. It means jointly building a way of life, a group memory, and a common, anticipated future.