||When I became a youth worker in inner-city Coventry in the early ‘90s, I inherited a youth group called ‘Koinonia’. But what relevance has an ancient Greek word for young people facing all the issues of growing up in today’s world?
Stupid name, perhaps—but a great idea.
|It's good to have fellowship with
people who share the same faith
Koinonia means participation, sharing, company, society, charity, or fellowship. It is the word the New Testament uses to describe what we should have with other Christians.
This is more than just friendship: this is belonging on a level which feeds and sustains the heart, the mind, the body, and the soul. It is the relationship that we, as Christians, have with God and that he calls us into with one another. ‘Fellowship’ just isn’t a big enough word for it!
Today we find ourselves increasingly cut off from people and things. The internet is an example of this; it’s a great benefit to society (and without it, you wouldn’t be reading this!). However, the very fact that we spend so much time by ourselves, in front of a screen, cuts us off from our neighbours, our friends, and even our family. The same is true of much modern media. We live in a world of isolation.
The Christian call to fellowship cuts across this. It reminds us that we are not designed to be alone; in fact, it was one of the first things that God said about us, “It is not good for man to be alone.” We are created to have this deep relationship with God first and foremost, through Christ, and we are called into that same quality of relationship with others, particularly in the Church.
There are parts of the world where such fellowship is not possible, perhaps because of persecution, and God gives special grace here, just as he does in any situation where we are suffering for him. But the normal Christian calling is to be part of a church, and in fellowship with other Christians.
Why does this matter? The reasons are too numerous to describe, but they include:
- This is how we learn to love (others, God and ourselves). We won’t like all the Christians we meet, but we need to learn to love them!
- This is how we grow beyond our own constraints. Others stretch us mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
- Fellowship reminds us that it is not just about receiving, although that is important. It is also about taking part.
This is where we belong. The most healthy and fulfilled people know themselves to be loved and accepted, whatever situation they find themselves in. This is how God welcomes us in Jesus, and this is how he calls us to treat each other.
‘Koinonia’ may have been a rubbish name for a youth group, but the young people who discovered the meaning behind the strange name found something more precious than they could have imagined possible. It wasn’t always easy, and some gave up, but those who stuck with it found something (and someone) that literally changed their lives.
Pray: Lord, I'd like to share my interest in the Christian faith with other people who are exploring, and with others who can help us with our questions. Please help me to find a group of people whom I can trust, and with whom I can have fun. Amen.
Read an online article about the importance of fellowship
Watch the music video In The Fellowship
Read the book Everybody's Normal Till You Get to Know Them by John Ortberg
Read the book Authentic Relationships: Discover the Lost Art of 'One Anothering by Wayne & Clay Jacobsen
Read the book Knowing Jesus Through Love, Fellowship & Worship by Quency Gardner
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