Gangs, Clubs & the Church
The thing that these three groups share is a common need and desire for a sense of community – real friendship where there is no relational pretending. The problem is that those who are seeking community in gangs and at the club have concluded that they won’t find community in the church.
Yet one of the hallmarks of the early church was that they “continued steadfastly in … fellowship”, and cared for each other’s needs. What has happened to the average church?
Perhaps our biggest problem is that we have so narrowed the definition of fellowship to potluck dinners and other meals that we have missed the real meaning of the term as community for the church.
So let’s review what fellowship really looks like:
Fellowship is acceptance. As believers we can accept one another no matter how different we are or deep our struggles with sin because God in his grace and mercy has already accepted us.
Fellowship is authenticity. We, as believers, can put away the masks and pretentions because none of us can hide the fact that we are sinners struggling to live lives consistent with Christ’s will.
Fellowship is accountability. We cannot go it alone. We need other believers, not to gossip or pick or cajole, but to help us grow and mature in faith through encouragement, teaching and correction.
Fellowship is availability. Communities make individual resources available to help with the needs of others.
The whole character of the church is wrapped up in the issue of community. Love one another. Pray for one another. Encourage one another. Serve one another. The church is “one-another” community.
When you begin to get a grasp of what church is meant to look like, would you be satisfied with a potluck dinner? I know I wouldn’t.
Let’s offer those who are looking for community within social clusters that give them a false sense of belonging a real place to belong.
— Pastor Steve