18. Experiencing Life Together


Real fellowship is so much more than just showing up at services. It is experiencing life together.

When it comes to fellowship, size matters: Smaller is better. Every Christian needs to be involved in a small group within their church. 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 and a few people will dominate the group.

In real fellowship:

  • People experience authenticity. It is genuine, heart-to-heart sharing. It happens when people get honest about who they are and what is happening in their lives. This requires both courage and humility. Sadly, authenticity is the exact opposite of what you find in some churches: there is role-playing, politicking, superficial politeness and shallow conversation.


  • People experience mutuality; the art of giving and receiving. It's depending on each other. All of us are more consistent in our faith when others walk with us and encourage us. The Bible commands mutual accountability, mutual encouragement, mutual serving, and mutual honoring.


  • People experience sympathy; not giving advice or offering cosmetic help; sympathy is entering in and sharing the pain of others. If you understand and affirm someone's feelings, you build fellowship. The Bible commands: "Share each other's troubles, and in this way obey the law of Christ." It is in the times of deep crisis, grief, and doubt that we need each other most.


  • People experience mercy. Fellowship is a place of grace, where mistakes aren't rubbed in but rubbed out. We all need mercy, because we all stumble and fall and require help getting back on track. You can't have fellowship without forgiveness, because we're imperfect, sinful people, who inevitably hurt each other from time to time.

    There’s a difference between trust and forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past. Trust has to do with future behavior. Trust must be rebuilt over time; it requires a track record. If someone hurts you repeatedly, forgive, but you are not expected to trust them immediately, and you are not expected to continue allowing them to hurt you.


Question to Consider:       
What one step can I take today to connect with another believer at a more genuine, heart-to-heart level?


Verse to Remember:

Share each other's troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2