One might ask the question, ― why is fellowship so important to having a healthy church? When surveys are done asking people why they first came to their church, the number one answer is that they were invited by a friend. Still, there are other answers that you get and there are other things that churches can do to get people in the door. They can advertise. They can have special programs. They can have outreach programs. But when you ask church members why they stay with a particular church there really is only one answer. They never say that they stay because of the outstanding preaching or the wonderful music. They don‘t stay for the teaching or the decorations. They don‘t stay for the special programs. When you ask people why they stay at a church, the overwhelming answer is they stay because of the relationships that they have with other members. They talk about how church people were there in a time of difficulty. They talk about the love that church members have for each other. People come to a church for a lot of reasons. People stay at a church because of the fellowship.
The dictionary defines “fellowship” as “Companionship, friendly association – mutual sharing as of experiences, activities, interests – A group of people with the same interests, brotherhood.” The Greek word for fellowship is “koinonia” and comes from a root meaning common or shared. Basically, fellowship means a common participation with others. In trying to define “fellowship,” Swindoll wrote, “Fellowship occurs, I believe, when there are expressions of genuine Christianity freely shared among God‘s family members.”
The text Acts 2: 42-47 says that they fellowshipped daily in the temple courts and from house to house. The word for fellowship is the word the word used in the title of the message. And it means sharing life with a deep closeness. It says they were of one mind and one accord. They were constantly eating their meals together with simplicity of heart and gladness. This means that their hearts were free from things that would impede close fellowship. They were real, and they were really involved in the lives of fellow believers. This kind of fellowship promoted spiritual growth, mutual accountability, and bearing one an-other‘s burdens.
At Southeast we want to have more than just worship service fellowship. We want to provide opportunities for the sharing and blending of hearts and lives that go far beyond time in the building. We must actively pursue it among ourselves, but also among those who are new to our fellowship.