Wednesday, July 24, 2013

What is Fellowship Part IV

Permit me to share with you at least six reasons why true biblical-spiritual fellowship does not take place in many evangelical churches regardless of their size and programs. These reasons are not rocket-science. As a matter of fact they are very simple. 

For the record I didn't look up these or any other reasons why fellowship fails nor did I rip these from the pages of some blog, article, sermon, or research paper. I simply reflected on this subject and jotted down thinks that came to me based on personal experience. Maybe you can add some very valid reasons to this list that will be of a great benefit to someone, some church, or some leadership team that is struggling with this very issue.

  • Improper and/or faulty definition - this of course needs no real explanation. I have talked about it in the last three posts. It is valid however. If a leadership team or congregation has no biblical definition then fellowship certainly will not take place.
  • Improper and/or faulty teaching - we have somewhat covered this also. Most things need to be taught. Many spiritual things to not just come to most believers. That is why God gave pastors and teachers (see Ephesians 4). People have to be taught what biblical fellowship really consists of. People have to given an opportunity or avenue to express and/or practice fellowship. I don't mean a single 4 or 6 week class and then as Tony Soprano would say, "forget about it!" People have to be constantly reminded, prodded, stretched, and taught again.
  • Improper and/or faulty committment - most people are really and very simply committed to themselves. People are consumers. Many believers attend a particular church for the sole purpose of "what can I get out of it" or "what's in it for me." I am not trying to be cynical - I have learned somethings about human nature, the sinful and depraved human nature. Believers have to be taught, it must be expected of them, and it must be "enforced" (what is a better word?) to be as committed to the congregation as a whole than they are to their own family or themselves individually. Believers must look on the congregation as their family. God has uniquely placed each person in the right congregation. God places us together in a position of pressure where we are "knitted" together like bones that knit together for the well being of the individual and the whole. If believers are not taught that the body is the second most important thing in this world, second only to their own family, then they will not benefit the church family with biblical fellowship. People have to be almost "drug" out of their protective shell and led by caring, nurturing, gentle but firm shepherds into being committed to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ whom we are absolutely mutually dependent upon.
  • Improper and/or faulty body dynamics - basically, if people are not expected to use their spiritual gifts, or in many cases not permitted to use them, then very few if any in the congregation are being ministered to. This usually means that the strong are not minstering to the weak. What a shame the "church" of today has degenerated into a "one-man circus, oops I meant show." On most Sunday mornings one, maybe two men use their gift while a whole crowd sits as mere on-lookers. We have exchanged the dialogue of the early church for a monologue ripped off from the Greeks. 
  • Improper and/or faulty expectations - as stated earlier most people who attend corporate worship services are consumers. Many, unfortunately are looking for the social-club like demeanor that most congregations offer. Many believers don't want shepherds who desire to "roll up their sleeves" and get "dirty and sweaty" as they work amongst the sheep. They don't want to get to "know" Harry and/ or Mary intimately. They certainly don't want to be exposed and known intimately by anybody else.
  • Improper and/or faulty level of satisfaction - the last thing most pastors want to do is "rock the boat." But you have no doubt heard, "No pain, no gain." Teaching and experiencing true biblical fellowship is painful, stressful, and fearful. It takes a lot of "blood, sweat, and tears" to see it truly happen. So few are willing to go the extra mile, make the necessary sacrifices, and endure the "pain for gain" that is needed. So, many leadership teams and many congregations become satisfied with the current programs and level of expectation.
Well here are just a few reasons why fellowship is so rare even in evangelical/fundamental circles. This list is by no means exhaustive. This list is not intended to indict every congregation equally. If none of these things apply to you or your congregation, then praise be to the living God!

The question was asked recently, "How long was it between your conversion (actual salvation) and when you were first taught biblical fellowship?"

That is a great question. It was and is well worthy of an answer. I gave my answer. If you join me in tomorrow's post I shall share with you answer that I gave.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I'm a "bottom line" girl, and the bottom line here (I think) is faulty communication, from both ends (pastor and congregants).

Today's "church" has gotten very soft, and I might even go so far as to say many are down right rotted. Each person wants what they want, they want their cake and to eat it too (not just referring to potlucks, lol). Being "sensitive" to the current potential disciple market out there is not what Jesus taught at all. But that is what "church" has for the most part become.

Forgive my sarcasm: God forbid that we should talk about hell or sin and Jesus being the only way out of this world's traps and dilemmas. That just "isn't loving". sigh.