Growing up the idea of Christian fellowship consisted of a gathering among believers every Sunday to worship, praise and learn about our Lord together; at least for me. As I mature in the Lord and come to understand more about His heart and His will, I am learning that fellowship can be experienced in more than one way.
The Oxford English Dictionary describes fellowship as “friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interest”, but much like my earlier, limited understanding this description fails to capture the differing, and oftentimes wonderful, facets of Christian fellowship.
Christian fellowship is as much a part of revering our Lord together as it is exchanging heart conversations with one another. During my DTS I learned that in creating us in His image, God created us with a need for horizontal relationship (a relationship with Him) and a need for vertical relationship (relationship with each other). This is first exemplified in the relationship between God, Adam and Eve.
When I spend quality time with the women I do ministry with our conversations are saturated with laughter and peppered with Godly revelations that, I’m sure, barely scratch the surface of all that heaven contains. Through spending days at the beach, long walks amidst some of God’s most marvellous creations, discussions about callings, future ministries and marriage, it is here our heart connections, our fellowship, is created, strengthened and renewed.
Even deeper are the heart connections I have with my mother and my best friend. With my best friend I have time-etched conversations padded with love and fortified with truth. Growing up under the watchful eye of our Father, we fellowship as we blossom in this life and in our Christian walk. With my mother, her fellowship is a feeding of sorts; much like the feeding she provided when I was cocooned in her womb. This time around the feeding is richer and provides nourishment that goes beyond the physical, as it continually directs me to the true source of all spiritual food.
Fellowship with my pastor challenges me to continually acknowledge the truth our Saviour revealed to us: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” [John 10:10]; a daily acknowledgment of this truth in what I do and in what I say. And with my church our heart connection is revealed in every note sung, every word read from scripture, every need shared and prayed for, every baptism, every union in marriage, every baby dedicated in His name and in every monthly agape meal.
Fellowship is an essential component of our walk with Jesus Christ because it edifies, it renews, it loves.