Joseph Iregbu

Purpose Guy

Christian Fellowship: Community or Isolation?

This morning as I reflected on the Bible, the word that stuck on my mind was fellowship. Over the years, I’ve come across different views on biblical fellowship; community or isolation. Both school of thoughts have their reasons of course, and some very personal.

worship

Imperfect people thrive in community

The Church community experience can often be ‘messy’. By messy, I don’t mean deliberate acts of sinfulness. Instead, we are a community of people from different backgrounds and some times we unintentionally offend one another.

Part of the Christian ‘grace’ experience is to embrace our corporate spiritual diversity while striving for personal growth. We are challenged, for instance, to:

“…admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” — 1 Thessalonians 5:14.

We may be imperfect but we must thrive in community.

Isolation destroys faith

One awesome element of the Christian faith is the experience of putting your preferences aside and engaging with others of like-minded values, regardless of social status. The Church should be a beautiful place of selfless service and strengthening of our common core values (rooted in the Word of God).

For this reason, I don’t understand the concept of ‘Christian’ isolation. Why would a Christian keep away from fellowship for a protracted period?

Isolation doesn’t strengthen our faith, rather it hurts our faith. When we are in fellowship with believers (beyond Sunday worship), we are encouraged and this helps keep us away from all manner of temptation and sin. 
 

This truth is significant for every Christian and genuine seeker. We are not stronger by sitting at home and watching ‘Christian’ TV channels instead of attending bible study, cell group meetings or corporate prayer sessions.

We are stronger, when and where we are present, together.

Remain in fellowship — no matter the personal inconvenience

Christian fellowship is an avenue of grace, designed not only to encourage but preserve us. Fellowship is a powerful experience.

And I don’t intend to make light of serious hurt some have experienced in the church either. We have a duty to ensure our actions as leaders and members of one family contribute to the flourishing of others. People should love coming to fellowship!

A recent research in the UK concluded that more people are suffering and even dying from loneliness and recommended the government set up programs to encourage lonely people stay in communities to foster their mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

If medical research holds this view, Christians should know better and follow God’s word:

“…not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” — Hebrews 10:25
 

I encourage you to remain in fellowship no matter the personal inconvenience to you.

Question: Have you ever left a church community as a result of being hurt by other Christian believers? How did you heal over time and what fostered your return to Christian fellowship?

Photo credit: Ministerios Cash Luna / Foter / Creative Commons

About Joseph Iregbu

From a homeless, near-school-dropout to living a story worth telling. Purpose is my passion. What's your story?

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3 Replies

  1. I’ve never left a church over “hurt” feelings, but I have left churches at God’s direction.
    I enjoy being in church fellowship. Seeing others worship Christ, makes my heart rise up in praise and hope.

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