What is Christian Fellowship? Why is it Important?
What is Christian fellowship and why is it important in Christianity?
What are some of the misconceptions which are associated with the meaning of Christian fellowship?
For example: In a world where there are millions of churches and so many denominations, is the definition of Christian fellowship only limited to the relationship you have with people in the same church denomination or local church? Can Christians who are from different churches or denominations together experience what is termed as Christian fellowship?
In a post-Covid world should Christian fellowship be still limited to the activities that occur within the 4 walls of a building?
There is the phrase “no man is an island”. This means that no one is truly self-sufficient or capable of living or surviving without the companionship of others. Instead everyone whether Christian or not, must rely on the company or companionship of others in order to thrive.
Whether Christian or not – God created every human being with the basic inward desire to seek friendships, love and to seek a sense of belonging.
What is Christian Fellowship?
Christian fellowship is any meeting and communion between Christians which consists of 2 or more people. Fellowship is based on shared beliefs or a mutual bond in Christ.
In Matthew 18:20 NLT Jesus says: “For where two or three gather together as My followers, I am there among them.”
So for Christians to have fellowship, it is not about the quantity of people – but it is about quality and intentions, and the promise that when 2 or more Christians gather in His name, Jesus Christ is present among them.
The Bible also says that Christians should not forsake gathering and meeting. Why? Because no Christian is an island. Every Christian needs other genuine believers as friends and to help him grow in the Lord.
Hebrews 10:25 says we should “not (neglect) to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near”
Christian fellowship is the meeting and communion of any number of Christians at any venue, at any time or through any medium, in the name of Christ and for the glory of Christ.
Christian fellowship is not only confined to the 4 walls of a building. Instead Christian fellowship can occur between 2 or more Christians via the Internet such as a video conference; Christian fellowship can occur between 2 or more Christians, for example: at a restaurant or in someone’s house or in the city park etc.
However, we also live in a world where religious groups will fume or even ex-communicate their members if they leave their current church to attend another one.
We live in a world where one church or group competes against another church group for members.
We live in a world where some churches or religious cults will forbid their members from having prayer, Bible study, friendships or any other kind of fellowship with other people from a different church – even if the church is doctrinally orthodox.
However, Christian fellowship does not only involve members of your own local church. Instead Christian fellowship can occur with other Christians as long as they are genuine Christians, irrespective of their denomination or geographic location.
Therefore it is absolutely possible for individual Christians from different denominations to fellowship. It is possible for Christians from different church groups to become friends; to commune and experience fellowship. It is possible for Christians from different denominations to pray and have Bible study together, enjoy one another’s company provided such connection and communion is to the glory of God.
Christian fellowship is necessary because without fellowship there can be no true Church.
Therefore true Christian fellowship can transcend beyond denominational differences because ultimately what binds Christian believers together is not one’s denominational beliefs – but it is Jesus Christ Himself who is the Head of the Church. Christians are also bound together by the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit and by the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.
Who Should You Fellowship With?
What also matters to God is: who do you fellowship with and how you conduct fellowship with them.
An example of Scriptures where God is concerned about who you fellowship with is 1 Corinthians 15:33 which says “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”
According to 1 Corinthians 15:33, the company you choose to keep can destroy your good character. If you hang around gossipers, you will soon become a gossiper too. If you mix with toxic, pretentious or hypocritical people, you will soon enough become toxic, pretentious and hypocritical too. If you spend time with people who are judgmental, legalistic and cultic – their habits will eventually infect your own spiritual and moral compass in how you perceive others. If you spend time around people who are manipulative, you’ll either learn to manipulate or you will become a victim of manipulation.
Therefore, even within a religious environment, we should not be misled or deceived, but instead we must learn to choose our friends and those whom you fellowship with very wisely & carefully, because not every religious person is a true believer and not everyone has pure motives (Matthew 7:21-23).
2 Corinthians 6:14 says “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Therefore, do the people you fellowship with seek to build you or destroy you? Do they see you as equal or do they see you as inferior? Do they reflect exemplary Christ-likeness in both words and deed or do they practice pride, hypocrisy and manipulation? Is their fellowship genuine or do they backbite, mock, slander and gossip when you’re not in their presence.
Ultimately true Biblical fellowship is built upon the foundation of genuine Christ-like love. It is the love of Christ and the love for Christ which makes true Christian fellowship meaningful and necessary and genuine.
In John 13:15 Jesus says the following: “By this everyone will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.”
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 says: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
The Importance of Christian Fellowship
Christian fellowship reminds us that no man is an island. We all need someone in life. We all need other believers and people we trust to pray for us; to befriend; to comfort us; to build us up in a godly and non-judgmental way.
Proverbs 27:17 NLT says: As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
1 Corinthians 12:21 says: The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”
Christian fellowship reminds us that we are part of a spiritual family where God is our Father, Jesus Christ is Lord and the Holy Spirit is our Helper.
Fellowship transcends beyond church denominations because there is one true Head of the Church and that is Jesus Christ.
Colossians 1:18 says: He (Jesus) is also head of the body, the Church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything
1 Corinthians 12:12 says: For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ
Ephesians 1:22 says: And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the Church
Christian fellowship reminds us that all true Christians are part of the priesthood of believers. Every Christian has a part to play in relation to fellowship and for the edification of the Church.
1 Corinthians 14:26 NLT says: Well, my brothers and sisters, let’s summarize. When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.
No man is an island. No Christian believer can function without the friendship of other genuine Christian believers. No Christian believer should forsake fellowship with other Christians.
Every Christian needs the friendship, companionship and edification of other Christians.
Christian fellowship begins with two or more people for the purpose of relationship, communion and edification in Christ.
Christian fellowship can be experienced at any venue and through any medium and at any time.
Christian fellowship transcends church denominations because Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church and the Church of Christ is bigger than a single local church.
Christian fellowship is necessary because without fellowship there can be no true Church.