Israel Afolabi Ojo

"Fellowship is not a meeting, gathering or a church service where we just come to sing and dance. It is not a group, as in we have in several of our churches. Meetings, gatherings, church services and different groups are vehicles of fellowship but they are not fellowship per se. They may exists without having the real fellowship."

One of the earliest New Testament theologians wrote,

"God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord"(1corinthians 1:9) .

The the apostle that received the inspiration to write the last book of the Bible expresses the the mind of God that we are created for his pleasure. (Revelation 4:11). He also wrote in one of his letters that in order for believers to demonstrate our fellowship with God properly and practically we must do it with one another. (1John 1:5-7).

My focus today is how should Christians fellowship be done and how do we fellowship with one another? But before I examine that, I like to let you know what fellowship is not. Fellowship is not a meeting, gathering or a church service where we just come to sing and dance. It is not a group, as in we have in several of our churches. Meetings, gatherings, church services and different groups are vehicles of fellowship but they are not fellowship per se. They may exists without having the real fellowship. The original word used for fellowship as found in the New Testament is koinonia. These are the words it connotes as it was used in the New Testament. Let us examine them here:

1. Partnership– believers fellowship simply means partnership. We must see one another as partners. In fact Partner is a combination of two words, part and owner. This implies that we all have parts to play in one another’s life.

2. Participation– every Christian is expected to take part in the progressive activities of the church. Nobody should stand aloof and watch others do it. All are expected to participate. That is fellowship. What is your level of participation in the progress your church or your society?

3. Communion– communion gives birth to communication, communication produces relationship and wherever there is good relationship there will be peaceful community. The church should be a community if you and I get the real meaning of fellowship. We should see ourselves as community of believers, not a congration of a denomination. Infact, to leave in a Christian community we must destroy denominational biaseness. It is a major destroyer of fellowship.

4. Contribution– what makes you a genuine member of any fellowship is the level of your contribution. How much of your time, talent, energy, wisdom, money, materials and suggestions to the things of God are the test of your understanding of Christian fellowship. There are people who just come to consume, we call them consumers, they have nothing to contribute but they can collect from men. Those who fall into this categories are not in fellowship, they are just exploiters of the fellowship. On the hand hand, those who contribute are the contributors. Are you are consumer of grace who don’t contribute to others or are a distributor and channel through which others are blessed?

5. Distribution– responsibilities of a community is not for a person because only him does not form the community. Therefore, responsibilities of the progress of the community must be shared. Burden must be shared in the church, it must not be left for leaders. They are not the owners of the work, they are just privileged to be in front, they must be supported, assisted and encouraged. Every member of the community of God must take his or her share of the responsibilities without force. It must be taken with joy because we are members of the same body. What area of the burden are you sharing in your community or your church?

6. Association– Because we don’t see the church as an association many believers have died silently in their problems. No friends to come around or associate with them in trouble. It is unfortunate that in present days people want to associate only with the rich in the church, not the poor,they are left alone, abandoned and rejected. Men comes around when you are celebrating and feasting but you will never see them when you are in famine and fasting. Is this fellowship? True Christian fellowship means associating with one another and sharing together in joy and sorrow.

7. Complement– the reason why we envy one another is lack of understanding of Christian fellowship. We are to complement one another’s efforts, not to compete with one another. Wherever people compete there will be no flavor, there will be comparisons. There will be no uniqueness and there will be stagnation. Do you envy people instead of complementing them?

These are what constitute Christian fellowship. Anywhere these ingredients are missing cannot be referred to as a Christian fellowship. It is a mere gathering, a place of darkness because Jesus can only be found in the light, where is proper fellowship.

Apostle John said,

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.(1John 1:5-7).

If you and I must enjoy the fellowship in the kingdom of God then it must start here. Remember, there is another fellowship in heaven. Cultivate fellowship mind today and practice it in your community.