As I mentioned in my post “An Unexpected Journey with the Church,” I’m planning to get together with a group of believers in the Charlotte area in April to discuss how expectations often hinder us from finding fellowship in Christ with one another. Over the next few days, I’m planning to write about various expectations and how those expectations can affect our ability to find fellowship and share our lives with other brothers and sisters in Christ. I’ve already written about how we don’t always find fellowship in expected locations.
In this post, I’d like for us to think about activities. Activities and fellowship can go hand-in-hand, but it’s also true that activities can often work as blinders to the real fellowship that’s available to us.
To begin with, when you think about fellowship, what activities do you think about? (Yes, I know that fellowship is not all about activities, but for this exercise, please think about activities that you associate with fellowship.)
When some believers think about fellowship, they immediately think about activities like Bible studies or prayer meetings. Others think about activities like sharing meals or a cup of coffee. Still other Christians think about fellowship in the context of serving others – maybe serving food, construction, etc.
And, to be honest, any of those activities can be beneficial in building or maintaining fellowship with others. Since fellowship is about sharing our life in Christ together, then any of those activities – and many, many other activities – allow us to share our lives with one another.
But, what happens if we expect to find fellowship through certain activities, but we struggle to get to know the people involved? What happens when we’re taking part in certain activities in which we do not expect to deepen our relationships with others? In each case, the expectations associated with those specific activities will affect our ability to find fellowship.
Perhaps we will be discouraged because we don’t find fellowship in those activities when we expect to, or perhaps we will miss opportunities for fellowship because we’re not taking part in activities that we associate with fellowship.
In either case, the basic problem is the same. We’re allowing the activities to work as a filter. Instead, we should see any activity as an opportunity – although not a guarantee – to build relationships with one another as we share our lives together. Obviously, some activities will be more likely to provide opportunities for fellowship while other activities will provide less opportunities for fellowship.
But, again, any activity can be an opportunity for fellowship… if we do not allow the activity to become the focus and if we do not allow the activity to distract us from the people around us.
Lately, I’ve been most surprised at the amount of fellowship and the deepening relationships that I’ve found while running… especially long distance runs.
What about you? What activities do you find are most conducive to fellowship? Have you ever found during unexpected activities?
Series on Expectations and Fellowship
- Introduction – “An Unexpected Journey with the Church”
- Expectations concerning location
- Expectations concerning activities
- Expectations concerning people
- Concluding (and continuing) thoughts