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“Just as each of us has one body with many members, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
– Romans 12: 4-5

Let me ask you, do you believe this quote from Paul’s letter to the Romans? It is foundational to the church. It is our very nature. Yet we sometimes struggle and say, “We would be better if they were not members here” or “that person or group is what is pushing people away.” Let me suggest that everyone God has brought here is a part of everyone else God has joined into this local congregation. Let me say that in a more down to earth way—we all need each other! And maybe just maybe you too are part of what attracts and what pushes folks away. This idea is what fellowship is actually all about—and in Acts 2:42 the Scriptures say Fellowship, Worship, Doctrine, and Sacraments are what we have at our core gathered around Jesus. Fellowship is not having fun, although good fellowship is fun. Fellowship is not just meeting together although Fellowship can’t happen in isolation. Fellowship means that we stay together and seek each other out. Yes all of us. Even that one member who is so judgmental, or the one that smells funny or the bossy one or the one that does everything wrong.

We stay together even if we get a little familiar with each other. Because the Spirit works in groups not just individuals. And the best fellowship tool? Billy Graham said a church rooted in God had three things—a Bible to hear God’s voice of Love, a kitchen to eat together and taste God’s love, and a mirror to reflect upon us whenever we get angry or impatient with another so that we can be God’s love.

How do you feel Fellowship in this church? Prayers, jokes, meals, friends—all are common ways. More importantly — how do you bring Fellowship to this church? We have good food, great music and prayer, good Bible study and preaching. Do we use that mirror enough? Not to beat down or pass judgment on ourselves, but to make sure we hold ourselves to the same standard we hold others. And this standard in the Bible is best seen as mercy and love, as all of us without exception belonging to each other in Christ.

Next time you get cranky because the deacon didn’t visit or pastor seems too busy or that elder made the wrong decision or that member was in your way or had harsh words toward you—remember the mirror. How have you acted and what have you done to build the fellowship? “If we all took time to look in God’s mirror,” Rev, Graham used to say, “the church would be a community of love not a house of perfection or an exclusive social club. It would be like the misfit ragtag group of disciples that shared one thing with Jesus—Fellowship.”

- Pastor Tim

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