The Greek word translated as “fellowship” in Acts 2 is koinonia. It is a word rich in depth, meaning and challenge. It points to a quality of relationship and activity which is so much deeper than the chit-chat over a tepid cup of tea and a soggy digestive that sadly sometimes passes for fellowship.
Koinonia is profoundly practical and deeply relational. John Stott argues that koinonia ‘is a Trinitarian experience, it is our common share in God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit’. In Acts 2, koinonia is seen in followers of Jesus eating, praying and sharing goods together. In short, sharing their lives with each other and the world around them, in a prophetic symbol of the kingdom of God: a powerful sign of a Spirit-filled way of life that stands against sinful selfishness; a wonder of hope, reconciliation and generosity; a true community of belonging and service. Through the practical expression of Christ-like love, koinonia draws people to Jesus, nurturing and sustaining disciples. It is evangelistic (good news), pastoral, practical and formative.
There is a risk that in deepening fellowship, Christians can become insular. So, as you explore this habit, let us keep asking how can we, personally and collectively, practise this habit beyond the fellowship of the gathered church, in our places of work, in the community and especially with those who suffer or are disconnected?
Below are some different practices for you to do to help you create meaningful fellowship in different areas of your life:
- If you don’t know your neighbours very well, you could start to intentionally build relationship with them – is there something you could invite them round to? Or you could begin by baking them some cakes and taking them round. Fellowship has to start somewhere…you don’t always need to be looking for big events.
- Are there people in the church who you rarely speak to? Be intentional about speaking to them after the service, or invite them round for a meal.
- You could host an afternoon-tea and invite people over who may not know each other very well, therefore helping to create a culture of inclusion.
- Is there a group or social project outside the church that you could be involved in?
These are just a few ideas, the list of practical things you could do to build, create and encourage fellowship is endless!
Below are firstly some questions for you to think about and discuss in homegroups and/or with friends/family and then there are a few resources to help you go deeper/further in understanding fellowship:
- What does Fellowship or a ‘koinonia attitude of heart’ look like/feel like?
- Who are you in Fellowship with already? Are they all people in church?
- How important is it that friends have the same beliefs or lifestyle as you? Does that help to make the friendship closer and stronger?
- What can make fellowship difficult?
- What do we as a church do well in fellowship? What can we improve on?
Some recommended reading: