For many cross-bearing Christians, the concept of fellowship is followed well; church on Sundays, Bible study on Wednesdays, hanging out with Christian friends, etc. Yet perhaps there are some who are not sure about the call to fellowship with other Christians on a consistent basis. That has been me. And after hard struggle and regrets, I can relay the awesome value in fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ. The 6 points below help explain the value of Christian fellowship.
- The body of Christ is a body, not a single member. Yes, there is that go-to defense as to why a person doesn’t have to belong to a church, “The church is in me.” That’s great and all, but much of the sanctification that goes on happens corporately, in groups, through relationships, mutual accountability, encouragement, etc. To be a member of the body of Christ means that you function in tangent with all others included.
- Isolation is a strategy of the enemy. When you’re isolated, you’re vulnerable to attack. Colossians 3:16 says to “admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.” If you are newly born-again or on the fence about Christianity, the enemy will sound something like this: “These people will judge me. They are creepy, let me stay away!” “They want to take something away from me.” “I don’t really want to be like them, so maybe I should just flock with my own kind.” When you are alone, your imagination can lead you to unnecessary doubt and fear. In a time of isolation, a Christian may not be able to face temptation successfully. College is a time of crossroads: one mistake can change your life forever. Moreover, the enemy knows that you are on your way to fulfilling your God-given destiny, and he does not want that at all. Stick with the people in your fellowship so that you won’t fall prey to his devices. 1 Peter 5:8 says that “the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.” It is better to travel this journey in a pack.
- People who know you know how to pray for you. There’s a saying that there is nothing like a praying mother or a praying grandmother. If you do not have one of these, your fellowship can make up for it! God will place you on the hearts of other Christians who will stand in the gap and intercede for you. What great difference this makes! If you have ever needed some to pray for you but have had no one, perhaps you know what this feels like. Also, prayer partners are super important and build godly friendship. Matthew 18:20 says “Where two or three are gathered, I am there also.”
- You can experience relationships without the world’s expectations. This doesn’t by any measure mean that offense may not hit a Christian relationship, but the reality is that people who are dedicated to their walk with Christ and have given their heart to Him are less likely to judge you by the world’s standards and let things that do not matter ruin your relationship. I have often felt at most ease in such relationships, often feeling as though there is less judgement over trivial things (how much money I make, my past mistakes, my goofiness, etc).
- Fellowship is a stress reliever. Your fellowship should always be enjoyable and a highlight of your week. If you are attending a service, sincere praise always relieves tension built up by pressures and demands of collegiate and work life. Even if you are just attending a Bible study, the experience should renew your hope and relieve any worries or stress.
- Fellowship is family. If you are studying away from home, your fellowship can be your surrogate family–those who accept you, care for you, tell you the truth, love you, and make you feel welcome. These are people with whom you will do life for as long God calls you to them, which could be for only a season or for the duration of your life. Either way, life is so much better when you have people around you who love you and are connected and in tune with God’s love for you and plan for your life.
- How you treat God’s people is taken personally by God. Actually, how you treat anyone matters a great deal to the Lord. Fellowship provides an opportunity to form relationships which mirror and reflect the person of Jesus Christ.
Who is stopping you from starting your own dorm Bible study? Or a morning prayer conference call with your friends? Or a worship session with some dorm buddies? Who knows how many people will find the Lord because of your get-togethers? There are people on your campus who are lonely, depressed, and some just one stressor away from a complete melt down–or worse.
Personally, I wish I had done these things in college. My then and my now would be so much different (but God is still faithful!). Of course, there is no time like the present to do what, by the time tomorrow comes, you will wish you had done.