Life Together: A Shared Life
By Rick Warren
— May 4, 2009
“How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God’s people to live together in harmony!” (Psalm 133:1 TEV)
God intends for us to experience life together. The Bible calls this shared experience “fellowship.”
Today, however, the word has lost most of its biblical meaning. Fellowship now usually refers to casual conversation, socializing, food, and fun.
The question, “Where do you fellowship?” means “Where do you attend church?” “Stay after for fellowship” usually means “Wait for refreshments.”
Real fellowship is so much more than just showing up at services. It is experiencing life together. It includes unselfish loving, honest sharing, practical serving, sacrificial giving, sympathetic comforting, and all the other “one another” commands found in the New Testament.
When it comes to fellowship, size matters: smaller is better. You can worship with a crowd, but you can’t fellowship with one.
Once a group becomes larger than about ten people, someone stops participating—usually the quietest person—and a few people will dominate the group.
Jesus ministered in the context of a small group of disciples. He could have chosen more, but he knew twelve is about the maximum size you can have in a small group if everyone is to participate.
The body of Christ, like your own body, is really a collection of many small cells. The life of the body of Christ, like your body, is contained in the cells.
For this reason, every Christian needs to be involved in a small group within their church, whether is it a home fellowship group, a Sunday school class, or a Bible study. This is where real community takes place, not in the big gatherings.
God has made an incredible promise about small groups of believers: “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:20 NASB).