the weblog of Alan Knox

What do you do when you can’t find fellowship with others?

Posted by on Apr 6, 2011 in blog links, community, fellowship | 20 comments

What do you do when you can’t find fellowship with others?

Because I write about church and fellowship and community, I get alot of emails from people who are truly interested in finding fellowship and sharing their lives with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of these people are seeking simple churches and some are part of more institutional churches.

I just ran across this post by Wayne at “Lifestream Blog” called “Loneliness in the Journey.” Wayne also gets emails from people asking about finding fellowship. (In fact, I’m sure that he gets much more email than me, and for very good reasons.)

I thought that Wayne’s response to an email from someone seeking fellowship was very good. I especially liked this last part:

But be assured of this, Father knows the fellowship that he wants to bring into your life. Look where you can, but beyond your own abilities, know that he is at work. Right now I suspect God wants you to learn dependence in him so when others come along, you can find the friendships that trust in him allows as people encourage each other to live loved. It is a process. I know this isn’t the easiest part, but as you get through this season you’ll find it well worth it…

It’s not easy when you want (and know you need) fellowship with other believers but find that it’s just not there. There are certainly steps you can take to open up opportunities for fellowship and sharing life.

However, the most important thing that you can do is trust God. Know that he loves you more than you know, and that he will bring people into your life. Look for those people.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 4-6-2011

    soo true Alan!! I so appreciate you posting this. I know I know I should blog this.. but I really have felt God answer this for me!!!!!!!

    I have been asking this of God (and you and others) for awhile… and I really feel that He sat down with me over coffee the other day and reassured me of some truths.

    A) yes it’s a journey and all things (especially dealing with relationships and people!) take time… more time than we desire it to take. So be it. Be patient. In quietness and trust is our strength (Isaiah 30:15)…be still and wait patiently for Him. (psalm 37:7)…. we should focus on the relationship with Him….getting really really good with community with Him is the first step! HE will focus on the results, the logistics, lining people up.. all that. Let Him work. These things take time…. lots of different situations to work out, things to teach and paths to cross.

    B) Most important….He has reminded me that I can find satisfaction in HIM alone exactly where I am right now. Just as so many people chase after wrong things.. idols.. with an “if only” attitude.. if only I had a better husband I’d be satisfied. If only my children were well behaved.. if only I had more money….. so also can we even as Christ followers become ‘if only’ people. If only you would give me the community I desire God…if only this..if only that…… He has really shown me that HE is the spring of living water. That HE nourishes and makes us like well watered gardens (isaiah 58:11-12)..HE satisfies us. period. so YES we should look forward in anticipation and joy for the community He will bring us to…. yes have open hearts & arms for who He is bringing into our lives.. BUT BUT BUT never make the mistake of thinking you can’t be satisfied exactly where you are. HE WILL quench our thirst. Rejuvenate and nourish!!! He doesn’t want anybody or anything in between you and Him… even His Bride.

    It’s also encouraging to know that very very very very rarely does God leave us entirely alone on the journey with no other brothers sisters… it’s not like we are imprisoned and isolated in persecution. Even though it may not be the type of community we want, the numbers we want (ouch! maybe we’re more like the institution then we thought!) or even look the way we want.. we must be thankful – we DO have brothers & sisters around us.. even if only 1 or 2. 🙂

    Thanks Alan!!

  2. 4-6-2011


    Since you know that you should be writing this on your blog, does that mean that I should or should not encourage you to do it… again? 🙂


  3. 4-6-2011


    I’m convinced, again from long experience, that most of we who were nurtured in the traditional scene, need, sooner or later,to learn the lesson which Wayne,and you,talk about.

    Many years,sometimes a lifetime,is spent in emotional, rather than spiritual,dependence on Sunday meetings and a weeknight meeting.

    Pastors I knew, who had been taught, as I was*, to remain aloof from their congregations, confessed their utter loneliness and the consequent need to attend pastor’s conferences, for a temporary fix.

    Neither they or the congregations found their satisfaction and peace in the Lord they professed to know.

    * I was a disobedient student.

  4. 4-6-2011

    One way to deal with it is to give up trying and realize that it may be a few years before God puts you in a position to have fellowship again. Focus on your own problems and your immediate responsibilities (like family), especially if that’s all you have time to do anyway. But, I don’t know how this idea would turn out. If it’s your only choice, then maybe God will bless it in the end because He understands.

  5. 4-6-2011


    Scripture says that God “defends the cause of the fatherless” (Deut 10:18). From my experience, God also deals the same way with the “fellowship-less.” (is that a real word?)

    After I left the ministry and the institutional church, I often cried out to God for someone with whom I could fellowship with. What little genuine fellowship I had before, was now suddenly gone. It’s a horrible feeling to be all alone.

    Soon God gave me a verse that I cherished. It was like He had put it into the Scriptures just for me. Certainly the verse had an application to Elijah in historical Israel, but now it had application specifically for me.

    What was that verse? It was 1 Kings 19:18, “Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him (NIV).”

    The message I got from that was that, while I desire to follow God faithfully, and though I presently (like Elijah) feel all alone and without fellowship, God has yet reserved His (spiritual) 7000 who feel likewise. I believed God would soon begin to bring some of those 7000 across my path. And wouldn’t you know it, it wasn’t long before He did just that.

    God knows we need fellowship, and God desires that we have it as much as we desire it; maybe even more. Though it may presently seem that others don’t want to fellowship with us, we must keep praying for it. Genuine fellowship IS a part of God’s will for us, so when we pray for it, we are in fact praying in accordance with the Father’s will.

    God is faithful. It’s just a matter of time before He sovereignly orchestrates our meeting other brothers and sisters with whom we can enjoy some wonderful fellowship.

    God bless,

  6. 4-6-2011

    I left church for about 10 years and found it very hard to have any Christian fellowship. Even after ‘reentry’, I still found it hard to break through cliques and have any real relationships. Now, almost 10 years later, I am starting to have good fellowship again. I guess my point is that it definitely takes time. But I will say that the whole ordeal made me closer to God and focus on Him sobmuch more.

  7. 4-6-2011

    thanks alan 🙂 Since I said all I wanted to say.. then saying it here is good enough for me. Maybe in a different season of life I will write all my thoughts out on my own blog hehe I do try to keep track in my journal/notes what God is teaching me. I would love to be able to write it all out someday!

  8. 4-6-2011

    Aussie John,

    I know that I had something that was called “fellowship” for a long time. But, I think I’ve only begun to understand what fellowship is over the last few years.


    You mentioned something very important. We should never discount the fellowship that God has given us within our immediate family.


    Another good comment, brother. Thanks!


    Time… patience… that’s hard for people, isn’t it? Thanks for the comment.


  9. 4-7-2011

    this was so encouraging, thank you! so great to know others have walked a similiar path and that what I’m going through is “normal”.

    I also appreciate Steve’s comment about family (‘immediate responsibilities’)…. I do feel God helping me learn how to be in community with HIM first… and Him and my husband and children. What great experience and preparation in relationships & community we have in our own homes.

  10. 4-13-2011

    I’d be interested to hear what situations people are in where fellowship just doesn’t seem possible. I’m thinking it’s more at our fingertips than we realize, and God’s just waiting for us to take a step out to find it. Probably within our own neighborhoods there are lots of people wanting community but we’re just not willing to go out and meet them. Have we really done everything in our human power to foster community? Especially in these times there are many cultural constraints that war against people coming together in real relationships. “Privacy,” independence, even the idea that only one “nuclear family” should live in a house, get in the way of the church living out its reality as a family. So I tend to think most often now that instead of us waiting on God for community, it’s God waiting on us – to get rid of our preconceptions about family, privacy, sharing, etc. God’s imagination is always bigger and freer than ours.

  11. 4-13-2011


    I think that you’re probably right. For most of us, we ourselves stand in the way of deeper community with Christ and with others. I think posts like this one – and comments like yours – are good for reminding us that we can hinder community.

    By the way, I’m enjoying following the progress of your house.


  12. 4-14-2011

    Thanks Alan. It’s an honor to have you follow.

  13. 4-15-2011

    I hear ya, Chris.

    and to answer — I think impatience may be the biggest situation I live in that makes fellowship seem so impossible.

    the other issue is the strategy for me 🙂 it was so much easier when I had an easy marketing strategy and way to ‘invite people to church’ 🙂 that was actually way easy, really. we’d have ‘new people’ there weekly because of our invitations.

    inviting people to Jesus and life together (which is what I SHOULD have been doing – but instead used invitation to go to church as a crutch) and BEING the church together is way harder than an invitation to go meet at a building once a week

    …everybody living in america knows what “going to church” means…

    we have no clue if the person we’re talking to will have ANY clue what we’re inviting them to — unless we get to know them first.

    SO I do find that things take a lot more time now… because good relationships must be built first. People aren’t as freaked out at our non traditional way of looking at things if they know our heart and love for Jesus 🙂

  14. 7-8-2011

    My wife and I have been in an IC for the past 17 years. Before that we were in a home fellowship that grew into an IC. (We didn’t know what we were doing and wanted to be a “real” church. Oy!) We joined our current IC after we moved half way across the country because of a job. We’ve been very involved in heading up small groups, evangelism, church council and other stuff. After a recent series of events we’ve realized, or feel like, we’ve wasted a lot of time and we desire a deeper more meaningful fellowship. Most of the people with whom we’ve “fellowshiped” are mostly interested in “doing church” and filling pews. Discipleship consists of attending classes. We’ve backed off church activity and have turned down invitations to get reinvolved because we feel when we do we are enablers, reinforcing people’s ideas of what church is. We have one couple we get together with and simply study God’s word and share and pray. We are considering leading a discussion group at our IC this fall on living missional lives and using it as a fishing pond to find people who want to meet on a more real level outside the church building. But first our idea has to be approved by the Adult Discipleship Team and the pastor. So we’ll see.

  15. 7-9-2011

    Fascinating to read along here guys.

    As a single the separation from Christian community can feel even more stark and dire with all the hype about fellowship.

    In the natural it feels like “hey this is not the experience I was promised on the little brochure” yet spiritually I know God is faithful. Where I am is where I need to be.

    People flow in and out of my life. God can use anyone or anything to speak to me. Personal growth and forward motion are required continously. Function amidst the Body is as needed and available.

  16. 9-8-2011

    Hi everyone,

    I know I am coming to this a little late, but I just happened to stumble upon this blog and it was a blessing.
    I will give you a little background on my situation. My husband, children, and I attended a church for almost 5 years. While there we endured a lot of unbiblical situations and people that claimed Christianity, but their actions and lives showed differently. It was a “family” church and the family members were allowed to get away with things that others were chastised for, then excuses were always made for the family members. To make a long story short, we recently left this church due to the damage it was having on our spiritual walk as well as our children.
    We are now without a church and have been for about 3 weeks. It has been hard in some ways because I love good Godly fellowship and have not had it in a while. I know God is working even now and like I said, stumbling upon this blog was a blessing to my soul, even if it is a little old.
    Thank you and God bless you all 🙂


  17. 9-8-2011


    It’s never too late to jump into a conversation on my blog. My suggestion is to look for believers that God has already placed in your life. Spend time with them, eating together, talking, going different places, whatever you would normally do in your life. Tell them up front that you need spiritual fellowship as well as the physical time that you are spending together.


  18. 9-28-2011

    I will look for you Suzanna.

    I don’t believe fellowship is easy or quick. I guess I hear what you are saying (chris & alan ) that “we” hinder fellowship…. but I wholeheartedly believe at this point I couldn’t try harder. I do believe it is in God’s perfect timing and that it does take a lot of prayer & patience as He has a lot to orchestrate.

    I guess everybody’s experience is different – but I actually find that it IS hard to find others who want spiritual fellowship outside the Church walls. And having a young family (with young children) seems to make it even harder.

    So we wait… do what we can (what can we do? pray mostly…keep eyes open for others, take steps outside our comfort zone to invite others into our lives, work on fellowshipping with those that ARE in our lives — immediate family, a close friend or 2)….. but the majority of what I feel I am doing is waiting.

    Just like the disciples waited in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit Jesus promised them. In the meantime they “prayed constantly” and bonded with those around them.

    We wait for God to orchestrate relationships… takes a lot of work & coordination I bet — to bring people together in the same locations – and have them be at a place where their hearts are open to fellowship in other forms than they are used to.

  19. 6-11-2012

    alan. I believe you’re advice to misty was spot on.
    as you know, my family suddenly lost decades of close fellowship
    and after a year or so of shock, started looking for fellowship again
    of similar caliber. it was a long before the lord convicted me of pride
    because I assumed that the few other believers we knew thru
    homeschooling were not candidates for close relational fellowship.
    and they were not, according to our context.
    they were however within their own context, which did not really interest us. we humbled ourselves and joined them in their activities and gatherings. they were, and many still are IC members, dissatisfied with their own experiences, but unwilling to leave or challenge their leadership. over the last 10 years, as we have gathered with them many many times, and always outside of their churches, a different kind friendship has developed, especially among our children. we are still as different as night and day from most of them on several levels, and there have been a few tense moments. but we have been humbled to see that they are far less discriminating then we were, with our high standards. they walk truly in the light that they know, their conscience is clear and we often tell the lord and them how grateful we are to know them. best of all is what has transpired among our 30 or so children. they have seen the humbling of their parents and learned a lesson that jesus isn’t a baptist or pentecostal. without any human governance, they have grown into what we all wish we could have. very frequently, sometimes several times weekly, they facebook, text and gather together, all ages from 7 to 25, for fellowship in several different ways. they serve the poor, study and discuss, play sports, worship, hike and camp, share work projects and any other excuse they can think of to get together. they talk openly of how jesus is their main bond, and speak of growing old together. we parents are in see of what god is doing among them. recently they have begun to be noticed and other young people, including unbelievers, are starting to hang around them. we are very careful to keep our hands off, and simply provide guidance. this all has recently had softening affect among most of us parents. all I can say is do not despise the day of small beginnings. blessings. Greg

  20. 6-11-2012


    That’s an awesome testimony! Thank you!



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