"They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship,
to the breaking of bread and the prayers." Acts 2:42
Being in fellowship with one another is an important part of being a Christian. Interacting with one another is a crucial part of how we develop and grow in our faith and discipleship. There are several opportunities for fellowship in our congregation.
One of the first areas of Fellowship that comes to mind for many people is our coffee hour. After worship on Sunday, people gather in our Fellowship Hall for coffee and cookies. It is an informal time for people to meet one another, catch up on what is going on in each other's lives, and to laugh and share stories. The coffee hour is open to everyone and all ages are welcome.
When months have five Sundays, we normally have a potluck lunch after worship on the last Sunday. This occurs four times a year. If you are able, please bring a covered dish to share. But, don't worry if you forget, there is always plenty of food!
We also hold several special events throughout the year - like cookouts, Bingo night, picnics at the park, mountain / beach retreats, and our luncheons.
At Smith Memorial Presbyterian, we recognize that there is also a deeper aspect of Christian fellowship. Our English word “fellowship” translates the Greek word koinonia. Koinonia means relationship, partnership, connectedness and shared life. Fellowship is not just about having coffee with folks after church and talking about the weather or the latest sporting event. Fellowship is composed of deeply committed relationships built upon the love of God.
The Bible’s view of the church is a fellowship. It is a place where walls and fences come down and people share what’s going on in our lives. It is a place where close and intimate relationships centered on Christ are developed and matured. It is a place of trust where we share the deepest parts of who we are.
For many congregations, the vast majority of church programing is based on the model of let’s get together, let’s perform a task, hear a message and then go home. But, when we operate by that model, the focus is on the work and the task at hand and running the program. But, really our focus should be centered on building relationships with Christ and one another. To be the church is to spend time getting to know each other and getting to know people in our community and then connecting our lives and our stories with the God who loves us and loves this world.
The Christian understanding of koinonia - the Christian understanding of fellowship - requires us to be vulnerable and share our struggles, our heartbreaks, and our hopes. Meeting together in groups where we wrestle with God and share our lives and pray for one another is one of the highest priorities in the Christian life and a habit that we practice on a regular basis.
Meeting in small groups was a defining vision of the ministry of Jesus and the early church. And, despite our busy lives today, taking time to meet in small groups remains an essential component of the Christian life.