Cultivating Fellowship Within The Church

When I was a soldier, I often felt alone in the world around me. I was overseas and far from the securities of home.

An air force chaplain and his wife opened up their home to the soldiers as a part of his personal ministry.

They created an atmosphere for Christian fellowship. Each Friday evening, there would be a meal where single soldiers and married couples would gather. After the meal, he gave a Bible study. Then his wife played the piano and we sang songs of praise. When all was done, I would sit for hours talking with fellow soldiers, or the chaplain, and we spent time learning what it meant to have true fellowship. This time became an anchor for my soul.

It has been twenty years since I sat among those believers, and to be honest, I remember very little of the doctrine, but I hold the fellowship we had in my heart as a treasure. Although doctrine is important, doctrine without fellowship carries little weight. If love is absent, the hearts of the people will be hard as stone.

Fellowship was the power of that chaplain’s influence. His love for us, and our love for each other created an eagerness to grow in the faith. Because I had a heart full of desire, I carried myself to the Scriptures and studied. His influence was not to teach me doctrine, but to teach me how to walk in fellowship with Christ and other believers so I was drawn to the doctrine. A desire to know the Word came out of the communion with like-minded believers. Fellowship without truth is a social club. Truth without fellowship is like seeding a barren ground. But when both are present, we will have given every person the opportunity to grow into the fullness of Christ.

To obtain these things, there must be intentional communion among the saints. It doesn’t just happen. It happens because you extend your soul to those around you. It only happens when we are not forgetful hearers, but doers of the word. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know you are my disciples, because of your love for one another.” You cannot expect God to add to the church if we are not investing our lives in cultivating love among the brethren – all brethren.


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