The Wonders and Benefits of Fellowship

By Eric Seymour

Fellowship is a word not often used outside of the church, although it is used so often within the church community that its meaning may become just as unclear to Christians as it is to the secular world. It is often used to simply denote any event outside of an organized worship service when Christians gather together. But fellowship is more than a simple social gathering. Just as any time spent between two people does not always constitute bonding, simply gathering Christians does not constitute fellowship.

What does it really mean, then? I want to discuss fellowship as the special bond held between Christians due to their citizenship in the same spiritual kingdom. As such, fellowship is not an event but a phenomenon. Because it belongs more to the spiritual realm than the physical, it is not limited by distance in our physical space. Nor is being acquainted with someone a requirement for fellowship. Because the shared citizenship is part of an eternal existence, two Christians who have never met may have a more significant connection than even a couple who have been married for many years.

In recent years, there has been a movement among churches to unite and work together to reach their communities. At events ranging from pro-life demonstrations to community kitchens, Christians from many different racial, denominational, and economic backgrounds have come together and found that their differences are far outweighed by what they have in common. As I have had occasion to visit other church congregations, I know I have felt more like a visiting relative than like a traveler from afar.

As the biggest example of this I've seen, the Promise Keepers' "Stand in the Gap" event in Washington, D.C. brought together men from across the nation. Though some traveled in large church groups, many found themselves among other men they had never seen before. Even so, by mid-afternoon, these men were sharing their problems and praying for each other.

This is the strength of fellowship. With such a strong common bond, every believer has a network of support that stretches far beyond their own community. This network is not only spiritual and social, but has manifested itself physically, in that most of today's charitable organizations grew out of Christians seeking to help those in need, not only in their back yard, but across the nation and around the world.

Eric Seymour

Robert Schiener

Joel Corbin

Rush Reagan