Four families from our church enjoyed a wonderful time camping this past weekend at Eisenhower State Park near Lake Texoma. We enjoyed hikes, dinner, worship with communion, s'mores with the biggest marshmallows I had ever seen, and lots of laughs. In other words ... simple fellowship.
The youngest in our party earned the nickname "Pokey." We learned that Lisa can execute a near perfect crow call. She even got some blackbirds to answer her back. We learned that Steve and Paul know some of the same people where Paul works. Several of us bonded over a particular college football game that changed the #1 ranking in the BCS standings. We found connections between us.
Some people came on the trip not knowing the other families. We had representatives from all three worship services and two adult Sunday school classes. We ranged in age from seven to ...
Fellowship plays a significant role in the life of the body of Christ. In order to serve the Lord together, it helps if we know each other. The bonds of friendship make serving a little bit easier. Simple fellowship grows unity in a household of faith.
The early church believed in the need for fellowship, too:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and prayer. ... Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42, 46-47
If we look to the early church as an example of growth, our church grows from fellowship, prayer, worship, and sound teaching. Some people will come to a local church only after they have met some friends through a common activity, like a softball team, or Habitat for Humanity, or kids' soccer games, or camping. Invite someone you know to participate in the fellowship opportunities at the church - we love to eat, so a free meal is frequently an option.
For all you campers and RVers out there, watch the bulletins for another fun camping weekend in the spring. Invite a family to join us, too.
Loving God, thank you for times of friendship, fellowship, and fun. May I see your face in the midst of the crowd. I know you are there. Amen.