The Fruit of Authentic Fellowship | Northlands Church

The Fruit of Authentic Fellowship

by: Jennifer Schmidt

Authentic fellowship is nestled in the sharing our lives with another. It’s not an event, it’s a lifestyle of intentionality that fosters encouragement.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another. Hebrews 10:24-25

The holidays are a time laden with gatherings, our calendars are full with this dinner or that get-together. It’s typically a busy and often stressful time of the year making sure our houses look perfect, our meals are impressive, and our company is entertained. Often we see these gatherings more as obligations than holy moments.

But what if we pursue these gatherings with an expectation of sparking genuine fellowship? Fellowship is derived from the Greek word “koinonia” which means communion, sharing a common bond or common life. Authentic fellowship is nestled in the sharing our lives with another. It is not an event, it is a lifestyle.

The writer of Hebrews tells us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another” (Hebrews 10:24-25). A lifestyle of fellowship looks like intentionally connecting with others to know and be known. It isn’t always easy or natural to open ourselves up, but every story we share of God’s goodness demonstrated in the circumstances of our lives is a powerful encouragement for others.

Fellowship requires real connection and vulnerability and it produces the fruit of hope and courage. Small talk is exhausting but real connection invigorates the soul. We were crafted and called to love one another deeply and to share our lives and our stories generously.

So as you prepare for the office party, the family gathering, neighborhood social, or church potluck this holiday season ask the Lord “How can I be a source of encouragement to another today?” Push past the tendency to smile and just small talk, and ask the Lord to highlight a particular person to spend 15 minutes really connecting with. Pray that He emboldens you to share a personal testimony or a word of encouragement with that person. Invest your attention in that holy moment. Consider growing fellowship beyond the gathering through texts or coffee. We invest in fellowship so that our “hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love” (Colossians 2:2). This is who we are and what we were meant for.

I pray that this advent season is filled with genuine fellowship, connecting with new and old friends in a way more meaningful than previously anticipated. You were made for fellowship with God and man. You’re fellowship with others truly impacts the kingdom and advances the agenda of Heaven. Lean in, encourage generously, and watch hope grow in your life and in the lives of those you befriend.

Prayer

Lord thank you for making me a conduit of hope and courage to your people. I ask that you would prepare me as I walk into each gathering this month. Would you highlight someone in particular that you want me to invest in? Would you give me personal words of encouragement for them?  God, let my life constantly reflect your goodness and invite others into intimacy with you!


© 2016 Northlands Church and Jennifer Schmidt. Permission to share so long as credit is given.