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For Your Reflection....

A BRIDGE FOR COMMUNITY

Let’s be honest...explaining to others who we are as a church is not always an easy task.  With a name like “Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)”, you’ve said a mouthful, but you might find people looking at you like you haven’t clarified anything; or worse they may get the wrong impression.  I remember speaking with a woman about my church – upon hearing that we were part of the Christian Church (D.O.C.) she exclaimed, “that sounds like one of those ‘bible-thumping’ churches!  Are you one of those ‘bible-thumping’ churches?”  I explained that yes, we do believe in the Bible, but no, we probably are not the stereotypical ‘bible-thumping’ church that she is thinking of...read more

 

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Entries in fellowship (1)

Wednesday
Jan272016

The Meaning of Fellowship - Rev. Dr. David Chisham

We probably all have the impression that Christian fellowship means coffee and hot biscuits.  Every Sunday morning, at the end of first service, I invite the worshippers to the Fellowship Hall to continue their fellowship over food and drink.  And every Sunday morning that I do that, I also think to myself that I’m not giving the whole picture of fellowship.

In Acts 2:42, we hear that the early Christians devoted themselves to the learning from the Apostles teaching, to fellowship, to breaking bread, and to prayer.  While fellowship and breaking of bread are next to one another in this list, we should see that they really are two different things.

Turning to Philippians 1:3-5, we read about Paul’s ‘fellowship’ with the Philippian church.  In the NRSV, it reads, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing [fellowship] in the gospel…”  Paul is commending the church for their partnership in the common work of the sharing the Good News.  Paul isn’t talking about a pot luck meal!  Koinonia is the “give and take” of life lived in community.

The Greek word we translate as fellowship is “koinonia”, which has the general meaning of a partnership or a common work that people share.  Two fishermen who work together on a boat are characterized as having “koinonia”.  It can be used in a negative sense—Paul warns us not to have “koinonia” with demons in 1 Corinthians 10:20.  But throughout the New Testament, we see koinonia is an important characteristic of a vital Christian life.  Christians don’t exist individually, under a bubble—we are to be partners in a common work.  There is no “fellowship of one”.  A Christian who avoids shared work will soon find their faith devitalized.

This Sunday we will ask you to give us a clear indication of how you wish to express your koinonia with First Christian Church in the coming year.  During worship we will distribute interest surveys for the various activities in our congregation.  These surveys aren’t simply about doing things where you’re gifted by God—they’re also about the everyday ways that you can support the shared work of building up the Kingdom of God.

I remember having lunch with Rev. Michael Elmore, talking about some of the things I found tedious in ministry and life.  He said, “you do those things to ‘pay the rent’, but having paid the rent, it frees you to do the things you’re passionate about.”

This Sunday, you’ll see a whole list of things we hope to do this next year; hospitality meals, serve on a committee, help with maintenance on the property, participate in worship, etc.  Some of these tasks will excite you and some may look a little tedious.  My prayer is that you will see the entire list as our shared work for the Kingdom.  Please choose some things to participate in that get you excited and where you can express your gifts.  But please choose some things to help out with because of your commitment to the koinonia we share in the Lord.

“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayer for all of you, because of our fellowship in the gospel!"

Peace in Christ,

David