FELLOWSHIP SURVEY – BIBLICAL EXPLANATION
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Below is a general description of fellowship as described in the Bible and then biblical answers to the survey questions.
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- Definition – The biblical word ‘fellowship’ is most closely expressed in the Greek by the word koinōnia (κοινωνία), and its derivatives, which mean basically ‘communion’ as well as the word metochē (μετοχή) which means ‘participation.’
- What does the Bible say about fellowship? – The Bible describes fellowship in the most general ways:
- It occurs only between Christians – This is because we cannot be encouraged or learn from those who do not have the Spirit or who do not understand the Christian faith (1 John 1:6-10; 2 Corinthians 6:14).
- Do not neglect – We are not to avoid fellowship. This is because it is good for us. It is also good for other people to see God working in us. Please see below (Hebrews 10:15-18; Hebrews 13:15).
- Functional definition – The Bible does not give a lot of detail, or a singular text, defining ‘fellowship’. However, functionally any interaction between Christians that is spiritually based, as described in the Bible, might be considered fellowship (Colossians 3:12-17; Ephesians 5:15-20).
- Why do we need fellowship? – The benefits of fellowship are assumed in scripture. As Christians, we need the example, as well as the verbal encouragement and reminders of God’s word from others, to help promote our own walk with God (1 Timothy 4:12-16). Likewise, our actions and speech provide this to other believers.
- What biblical fellowship is not – One benefit we derive from church is social fellowship around food, games, sports, weddings, parties, etc. However, these events may or may not include true fellowship which should have a spiritual basis.
- How do we fellowship? – True biblical fellowship can occur in many settings. Regardless the setting, biblical fellowship is framed in a lifestyle that is upstanding (1 Thessalonians 2:10) and speech that helps and encourages others (Ephesians 4:29). How do we do this? Here are some ideas:
- Know God’s word – This is important so you are speaking to others correct biblical truth and not church based jargon such as ‘That is not my gift’ or ‘I do not have a peace about that so I will not do it.’
- Plan ahead – Consider before meeting with a person how you might encourage them specifically with: gratitude, commendation, thought provoking questions, sharing God’s word or recounting what God has done in your own life (Colossians 1:3-7; 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7; 1 Timothy 4:16). If you don’t know what to ask them go to their social media accounts and learn about them. If you are attending a gathering, then choose one person to target with whom to fellowship.
- Listen – Be sure to listen when conversing so you can learn and discover how you can even better encourage them (James 1:19).
- Control the environment – It can be very difficult to discuss godly matters in environments controlled by other people such as festive activities or groups of people who are unbelievers or non-serious Christians.
Here are the biblical answers to survey questions. Unmarked choices without a bible verse are not in the Bible and are either wrong or lifestyle preference.Where do I typically fellowship?
Scripture does not specify where fellowship must occur, but its characteristics are important as described above
- Chatting with people during and after church
- Church events apart from Sunday
- Gathering with Christian friends apart from church
- Church based accountability group
- Church based small group
- At a parachurch ministry (e.g. College group)
- Anywhere I can discuss biblical topics
- Electronic communications (e.g., email, text, phone, social media) in which I can discuss biblical topics
- Anytime I speak to another believer regardless of topic
- With Christ 1 John 1:3
- Sharing the sufferings of Christ Romans 8:17
- With the father 1 John 1:3
- With the Holy Spirit Philippians 2:1
- With each other Hebrews 10:25
- With anybody outside the church good or bad
- With unbelievers if we have the right mindset
- With the sufferings of fellow believers Galatians 6:2
- Yes – It is a basic tool to support and grow in our Christian life Hebrews 10:25
- Actively pursuing fellowship Hebrews 10:15
- Acknowledging to others every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus Philemon 1:6
- In the Gospel Philippians 1:5
- In the teachings of the epistles
- Just being with another believer, the mystery is what is new revelation revealed in the epistles Ephesians 3:9
- Talking about anything ***
- Talking about just the things that concern yourself ***
- Talking about other people ***
- Talking about how to help others Galatians 6:2; Ephesians 4:29
*** Not a preferred biblical responseWhy is fellowship good for me?
We have great freedom here but please see link below
- It gives me joy to communicate with fellow believers
- Fellow believers are a good example to me and encourage me in the faith
- Corrects my mind to remind me that God has purposes and desires greater than mine
- Causes me to be more humble
- Allows me the opportunity to gain attention and talk about myself ***
- Allows me the opportunity to have my needs met ***
- Makes me feel good
- Makes me more cognizant of biblical issues and Scripture
- It is an escape from the world *** Christians are to live in the world
- Increases my wellbeing Teleios research has shown this finding (read here)
- Minimizes my complaining, realizing there are greater issues in life than my own problems
- I am unsure
- Fellowship does not help me ***
*** Not a preferred biblical response