Who’s on First? …and other meaningful conversations

250px-abbott_and_costelloWe do know how to occupy the time with meaningless conversations, don’t we? My, the idle words I spend through the course of a day…

…so then there’s the topic of the fellowship of believers. This is the fellowship all believers have access to with one another in Christ Jesus. My pastor advises though; this should never be confused with the socializing of church members.

To phrase it in another way, the question is whether true biblical fellowship takes place when two or more believers gather (even online)… or, would what occurs be better described as socializing? Another definitive question might be asked, “What are the normal topics of discussion that take place between fellow believers?” By the way, this isn’t an attack against socializing. It too has its rightful place. The fellowship of believers however, transcends trivial socializing.

In our conversations, are we excited to share all that God is doing in our lives? Are we equally excited about what God is doing in the lives of others? Do we express the burdens we bear, and hear the burdens of others? Is our fellowship focused on Jesus?

Or… are our discussions consumed by our favorite team’s latest victory or loss. Is the content of our conversations primarily filled with our latest purchase, hunting or fishing trip, a recent movie or television program, a great restaurant or meal, the economy, or how things are going within our nation’s governments?

My good friend Matt, now serving in Senegal, shared something with us once that really impacted my view on this. In the village where he and his family serve, there were originally (on his arrival) six believers in Jesus Christ. SIX! Can you imagine having only five other Christians available for fellowship? (Hey! Watch it. I heard that, and so did our Heavenly Father)

First and foremost, it means fellowship must be undivided. If one member becomes upset with another, there’s not another church up the street to run to. There’s one church. They must also keep one another lifted up and encouraged. They can’t afford for one to fall by the wayside. They have to demonstrate Jesus’ love consistently for one another. (Acts 2:42)

So, how about us? What if we treated everyone as if they were our only source of Christian fellowship? Do we appreciate every believer (be honest) God has made available to us? Do we experience true fellowship with them, where Jesus is praised and worshiped and is the central topic of conversation? If not, why? Do we feel that other believers would be bored with hearing about what Jesus did for us and what He’s currently doing? [shivers run up my spine as I write and then read that sentence]

My pastor encouraged us with some ice-breaking questions that open the door for meaningful fellowship between believers. Here are a couple of them that struck me as challenging.

“What have you seen God do recently?”

“Where is God at work in your life?”

“How is your ministry going?”

“What spiritual challenges have you faced this week?”

“How can I help and pray for you?”

My Pastor concludes, “The bottom line is… Christian socializing is not enough. We are spiritual people who need spiritual things, including the fellowship that only the believers in Jesus Christ can experience and share. To avoid this, by whatever means, is sinful (Hebrews 10:24, 25).”

About mtsweat

Seeking the rest that is only promised and found in Christ Jesus, along with my treasured wife of more than twenty-five years, we seek to grow in our relationship with our Heavenly Father, walk with the Holy Spirit as He moves our hearts, loving others always as Jesus loves us, and carry the news of His glory, the wonderful gospel, that gives light and life where there once was only darkness.
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5 Responses to Who’s on First? …and other meaningful conversations

  1. Some time ago I was challenged to ask fellow believers, on greeting them at Church, “How did God bless you this week?” but after a few blank stares and maybe a couple of avoidances, I changed it to sharing a way God had blessed me. I found that more effective and opened the way to asking them how God had blessed them.

    I agree the ‘fellowship of believers’ is more – much more – than just socialising, and should at least include “exhorting one another” [Hebrews 10:25]

    • mtsweat says:

      An excellent bit of advice you offer good friend. Your method is more inviting than intrusive, while still opening the communication line for higher conversations. Blessings.

  2. ptl2010 says:

    M.T. thank you for this authentic blog which really speaks to me, on a practical subject that is close to my heart. Thank you for sharing your pastor’s tips for opening up to closer spiritual fellowship.

    At my church, we have adopted to good effect, a few similar questions for our 30 minutes’ Women in Prayer sessions (5-10 women) just before Sunday Morning Worship Service. We are moving towards closer fellowship (mostly at “hi” and “bye” stage now) with the recent introduction of our Women’s Prayer Network (50+ members) with daily email/chat encouragements.

    Today’s technology with sight and sound interface all round the clock, which was not possible even 5 years ago, could foster closer fellowship internationally. Budget air fares with many convenient connections, could supplement on line interactions and strengthen the move to closer group relationship/collaborations in His service, among the members of the global and international family of God,

    Good prayer partners could enjoy good fellowship like no other, when they feel comfortable
    – sharing strengths, challenges, opportunities, ambitions,
    – exposing weaknesses, disappointments, failures,
    – exploring resolutions, possibilities and testing all round
    on a personal, family, church, ministry, missions level, to really pray i.e. talk to God about all there is to pray about.

    Two prerequisites for great fellowship are mutual trust and confidentiality. The one hindrance could be cultural differences on perspectives of the need for personal space.

    It is my prayer that spiritual fellowship will develop among a few of us here on ChristianBlessings, as the Lord in His grace and mercy gives us common/allied/collaborative vision and mission, allows us time, as we develop mutual trust and confidentiality in sharing and praying one for another. Let us pray more about this subject.

    • mtsweat says:

      Many excellent thoughts you contribute here good friend. Since sitting under this teaching by my pastor, I have pondered many things regarding my personal fellowship with other believers, and as you say, including even here.
      I look forward to our being able as a body of believers here at ChristianBlessings to involve ourselves in ministries together to accompany our offerings of writings. I believe it would be very pleasing to our Lord. Thanks and blessings to you today.

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