Post by Josh Fenska
Fellowship matters. It really does. We call this church Redeemer Community Church, and since the earliest days of this church’s life, we have treasured community and fellowship as core values.
But fellowship is the kind of value that can too easily be forgotten or neglected or taken for granted. So, to guard against those dangers, we’ve asked some church members who lead men’s and women’s fellowship groups to write some reflections about why fellowship matters. We’ll kick that off in a couple days with a post from Jodi Tatum on “speaking the truth in love,” and you’ll see posts from fellowship group leaders throughout the month of March.
Today, I want to launch our “fellowship matters” blog series on a personal note.
You see, small groups changed my life. Maybe it would be more precise to say that God’s grace poured out in/through small groups has changed my life. But you get the point.
My Trip Down Memory Lane
My life is different because of how people welcomed me and served me in small groups when I first arrived at this church as an arrogant, immature, unreliable, flakey college student, who showed up when I felt like it, talked a lot, and contributed mainly unhelpful comments and stories.
My life is different because of how friends in my small group prayed for me and repeatedly shared the simple (yet profound) truths of the gospel with me when I was pretty depressed toward the end of my college years.
My marriage is different because, for as long as we have been married, Katie and I have been surrounded by friends who caringly ask us the hard questions, and don’t let us get away with shallow answers. When we’ve had disagreements or fights or conflicts, help has come from a multitude of voices.
My parenting is different because when Katie has raised questions or concerns about my faithfulness, intentionality, or anger as a dad, we’ve had friends in our small groups who have not only given us good advice, but challenged me to change.
I remember a number of times that people in our group took time to specifically encourage me, pray for me, and share upbuilding words with me.
I remember specific times that Katie and I have shared with joy how God is opening a gospel door, and then felt the support of brothers and sisters coming alongside us (with a variety of personalities and Spiritual gifts) to spread the hope of Christ to our neighbors and friends.
Don’t get the wrong idea. Not every meeting has felt like a life-changer. I remember some pretty broing meetings in there, too. (And the worst part is that I was usually the one leading those boring meetings!)
But through a trail of meetings (some more awesome than others), I know that I’ve grown closer to others, and God has used His gifts and His truth through other people to change lives by the power of His gospel to the glory of His name.
Your Trip Down Memory Lane
If you’ve been walking with the Lord for very long, you probably have a trail of memories as well. Hasn’t God consistently used gatherings with others to impact your life?
Take a trip down memory lane.
How have you seen God use fellowship with His people around His truth to change your life?
Thank God for what He’s done. And raise your expectations for what our living God will continue to do.