This summer our church started a once a month fellowship. We call it “The Gathering”. It’s been quite the success. The Gathering consists of good food, (always a must!), laughter, and sweet fellowship. We meet at each other houses.
I have throughly enjoyed these get togethers, as it gives me a rare opportunity to be with my church family other than Sunday mornings. I say rare, because Sunday mornings it’s usually a quick Hello, perhaps a hug and “have a good week” on our way to our cars afterword.
Lets face it, other than the occasional dinner after church, Sunday mornings aren’t a great time to immerse in deep conservation with each other. When I was the Women’s leader, I always tried to plan times away from church with the girls. Whether in a group or just a couple of us. It really bonded us together.
I’m convinced that these times of fellowship is so vital to my connection with my Church family. Church is much more than a social club, an obligation or duty. I need these people and so do you.
I’ve heard the arguments against Church. “You don’t have to go to a Church to be a Christian.” “Those people are hypocrites.” “I’ve been hurt by so called Christians and won’t be again.” etc...
I would answer, that yes, going to a Church building doesn’t make you a Christian. Every Church is full of human beings, so yes I suppose there will be those who fail. And yes, I’ve been hurt by people in my Church. I know there are “bad” Churches out there.
I’ve gone to my church since the day I was born. Now I am aware that’s probably a rarity. It’s just the way it’s worked out. I’ve attended through leadership failures, church splits, drama and some downright ugliness.
I haven’t always had such wonderful positive feelings. I left for two years to attend another church, but came back. I’ve pondered about leaving for good a few times.
As I become more involved in being a leader, The Lord gave me a love and a new perspective for the Body. It became more about serving and less about what I can get from the Body. It’s helped me to keep my focus where it needs to be, i.e., off me and and on Jesus and His body.
It’s sustained me through the rough times in church.
Maybe we ought to go with a new perspective; to serve one another and go after God with a passionate heart, rather than to be a spectator in the pews. Maybe we should pray for each other, look each other in the eyes and share our hurts, rather than wag our tongues and point our fingers. Perhaps we should share a table, a meal.
That’s too messy, I hear you say. Yea, it can get messy. But you desperately need it. I need it. It’s far too easy to stay closed up in our houses and lives. It’s also a miserable and lonely place to be. We need each other. I need your prayers, your laughter, your gifts and your hugs. I need to be known. You do too.
I want to encourage you to find a church family. Or get to know the one you’re in. Don’t alienate yourself.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.