The Place of Fellowship in the Church

On Labor Day our church had a fish fry. More people attended than have attended church or Bible Study on any given Sunday in the past three months. This got me to thinking about the place that fellowship occupies in the life of the church. In Acts 2:46 we find the new church members meeting together daily in the temple and then "breaking bread" (having fellowship over food) from house to house. This reminded me of something I once heard; "it is hard to put on airs while eating". We are more apt to be ourselves over a meal or refreshments than in most other settings.
The only problem I see is that many churches have elevated fellowship to a position above worship, evangelism, discipleship and ministry. At one point the Sunday School was known as the "outreach arm" of the church. In the early 1970s, that changed to being the Bible Study FELLOWSHIP, or Small Group FELLOWSHIP. The drop in baptisms can be traced back to that change in philosophy.
I think that fellowship is somewhat like icing on a cake. It makes the cake taste better if it is applied in the right proportion. However, too much icing will make you sick. When fellowship prevails over all the other activities and ministries of a church, the DNA becomes unbalanced and the church becomes sick. The real place of fellowship is to build a deeper "koinonia" in the body and to serve as an entry point for those outside the body.
Fellowship, then, is essential, but not primary to the health of a church. Everything should flow from WORSHIP. More on that later. What do YOU think?


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