The Fellowship Factor

As a lead pastor for well over 30 years, I’ve recognized the importance of fellowship, knowing people and having friends in the local congregation. Now that I’ve been retired and most recently haven’t served a church, I see how much more important relationships are for a church member.

My wife and I are active church members of a Bible-believing congregation. I wouldn’t be a member of a church that didn’t have my biblically based beliefs. But when Sunday morning rolls around, I do think about the Sunday School lesson, even as a member who listens and participates in class. I also am eager for worship, including the music and the message that will be preached by my pastor. (It’s wonderful having a good pastor, and I have one who’s the best.)

But, I admit, a big part of going to church has me focused on the people I will see. I look forward to that a lot. I’m uplifted greatly by the people I see. I look forward to seeing them and talking with them. It’s one of the highlights of my week.

Church leaders need to be sure that new attendees get connected with others. This includes being a part of a small group, whether it’s a life group, Sunday school class, a men’s or women’s group or some type of discipleship meeting. We are social creatures. We need contact with other people, whether we are introverts, extroverts or somewhere in between.

I also got connected to people by playing in the church volleyball league. While I eventually was the oldest member, I looked forward to seeing the others, and I think the feeling was mutual.

Doctrine and theology are important. But don’t neglect the fellowship factor.

Ashton C. Smith, Certified Church Consultant

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