When I look at the early church and its people, one simple word comes to mind: fellowship. But it’s through my Small Group that I’ve come to realize what this feels like.
The Very First Fellowship
Looking specifically at Acts 2, we see that believers can be described as having “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). When I look at passages like this, it makes me wonder how this can occur in the local church, and how we can strive to be known for fellowship and breaking bread with one another.
My Small Group: Fellowship… Of Differences
One of the ways that I have seen this type of fellowship most clearly has been in my Small Group. On Thursdays when our group meets I have noticed that not one of our Small Group members is the same. Each of them comes with their own story and background that makes them unique, including:
- Three people who work on staff at the church
- Two newlywed couples
- And a married couple of over a decade with three young adult children
We also have an incredible array of ethnic backgrounds represented, including:
- And Dominican
Some of us with multiple ethnic heritages in one person!
As we gather on Thursdays, the differences that we all have are brought together when we meet:
- I start to see our fellowship as we dedicate ourselves to talking about the Word and the different ways that it is impacting our lives—even in very different life stages.
- I see our fellowship grow as we gather around a meal and discuss the heartbreaks, the ups, the downs, and the things that we are all currently experiencing in our lives.
Fellowship like this can be difficult. As most of us have experienced, it can be hard to open up to certain people because of our cultural differences or because of life experiences that either you or they haven’t faced in the same way.
Our Love = People Seeing Jesus
Yet even though this type of fellowship is not always easy, this is what we as the Body should be known for. Jesus prayed that his people would be united as he prayed, “The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John17:22-23).
It is upon our unity that people will know that God has sent his Son into the world, and it is by this unity that people will truly see the kingdom of God. Through our love, people will see Jesus most accurately.
High Stakes, Holy Spirit
There is much at stake in how we relate to one another, therefore true biblical fellowship is not just a good moral thing that we should pursue; it is truly what all Christians should be known for.
As we pursue this fellowship we remember that God’s Spirit is with us. And it is only by us relying on this Spirit that we can pursue godly fellowship so that the world may know that God sent his Son into the world. Every time I face a hard relational moment in Small Group, I want to pray, “Spirit, help me show Jesus to my brother.” And by God’s grace, that’s exactly what the Spirit can do.