There’s no mystery about fellowship in the Bible. It’s explained throughout the New Testament as the spiritual force that unites all Christians with God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As Christians in fellowship with the Lord we are all one, and overjoyed at the fact that we’re fortunate enough to be bathed in His light together.
Fellowship is what gives us, as a united community, the strength and inspiration to help God’s church grow and thrive.
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Jesus was a powerful figure, and in His time there are many stories of people dropping everything to follow Him in an instant. But over the centuries Christians have forgotten the power of Christ and are consumed with superficial details of daily life. They’ve forgotten what Christian fellowship means.
Even Christian churches can lose sight of this. Are people making decisions based on carrying out the will of God, or are they more concerned with their social status? Are members of the congregation structuring their lives to live as Jesus did, or are they finding excuses to make compromises?
This is where fellowship ministry comes into the picture. This is a branch of ministry dedicated to ensuring that we truly are all one as Christians, in unity with the Holy Spirit.
There are many temptations out there that seek to break our resonance. Fellowship ministry helps us to recognize these while growing in strength together.
What Is Fellowship Ministry?
Fellowship ministry is placing a community emphasis on our oneness with Christ. Our communion with Jesus is something to celebrate, and fellowship ministry strives to keep the focus on exactly this while avoiding distractions.
Fellowship is like friendship with a spiritual side to it, and ministry is sharing this with others.
Fellowship ministry can take place within a church or as part of an outreach program to the wider community, be it local or international.
Fellowship ministry looks like:
- A group prayer during a social gathering that helps us recognize we’re all in this together; not only is Jesus our common savior, but fellow Christians are our brothers and sisters
- A community outreach project that helps others using Christ’s example, driving home the fact that we’re all equal under the Lord, at His mercy, and in His grace
- An event at church that promotes in-depth active group participation that helps everyone truly grow in their faith together
As individuals who are part of a larger community, each person can contribute to fellowship ministry in their own unique way. Good churches recognize this and will offer you a range of opportunities to choose from if you want to get involved with fellowship ministry.
Fellowship Ministry as Explained in Acts Chapter 2
Acts Chapter 2, verses 42 through 47 speak about fellowship, specifically that of the apostles as they traveled the land baptizing new believers along the way. After one particularly prosperous occasion where 3,000 people accepted Christ as their Lord, Acts 2 describes the group breaking bread and engaging in prayers as fellowship.
It goes into considerable detail. The coherence and togetherness of the apostles and newly baptized as they journeyed as one toward a deeper communion with Christ is described as fellowship.
“...all that believed were together, and had all things in common…[they] sold their possessions and goods...continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people.”
Fellowship is the sharing of, commonality, and communion with, God; something experienced by all Christians together as a oneness with Christ. It’s a shared sense of inspiration provoked by knowing God that’s so profound that in Jesus’ time people found immense joy in giving up all their worldly possessions and walking side-by-side with our Savior.
Today churches seek to emulate this feeling through fellowship ministry.
The Recipe for Fellowship Ministry Involves Two Ingredients: Community and Christ
How these are combined to foster and strengthen the celebration of Christian unity with each other and God is up to the creative designs of every individual church.
Examples of community activities that could potentially be infused with Christian fellowship include:
- A shared meal at church or in the wider community. The community participates in this from the first planning meeting all the way through to shopping for food, preparation, sharing a meal, entertainment, and cleaning up afterwards. In Acts 2 fellowship is literally breaking bread together.
- A charitable community event like cleaning up a neighborhood, helping the elderly, or visiting people in the hospital.
- A group activity with fellow church members like going for a hike, playing a sports game, going to an uplifting event together, having a barbecue, or playing board games.
Churches address fellowship ministry in different ways. Sometimes the committees in charge of social events will be under the umbrella of a fellowship ministry department. Or churches may have a department for community activities, a department for outreach, a department for hospitality, and a department for dining, all of which could involve and incorporate fellowship ministry.
In reality you can find ways to fit fellowship ministry in with pretty much anything that involves the community and Christ.
You can get your foot in the door with community activities at your church and then move up the career ladder. Experience and a solid grounding in Christianity will serve you well.
A career trajectory in fellowship ministry will start at being involved as an individual in church social and outreach activities. As you advance, you’ll move into positions that emphasize managerial duties like planning, coordination, and networking.
How Aspiring Pastors and Other Christian Leaders Can Embrace the Principles of Fellowship Ministry
Every church offers opportunities for getting involved in fellowship ministry. Churches will either have a dedicated fellowship ministry department, or departments that manage social interactions which are ripe for infusion with fellowship ministry principles.
Entry level positions are open to volunteers. These provide a great opportunity for you to get your feet wet in a range of fellowship ministry options. These could look like:
As you gain experience and move up in the positions at your church you can expand your role and responsibility in the category of fellowship ministry doing things like:
Reserved for those with demonstrated experience and education, senior-level management and director positions pertaining to fellowship ministry can include:
Having a relevant degree in a Christian-related subject, especially one that incorporates ministry, can greatly help in distinguishing yourself as someone who takes Christianity, fellowship, and ministry seriously. Examples of relevant undergraduate degrees include:
Naturally church pastors will serve in leadership roles relating to fellowship ministry. There are a number of relevant graduate degrees that offer an in-depth knowledge in this topic as it relates to Christianity and the advancement of the church, including those focusing on:
Pastoral fellowship is literally breaking bread with your neighbor. This task can be challenging, especially in a social culture that places a premium on fences as making for good neighbors.
Fellowship ministry focuses on tearing down walls between neighbors, celebrating our common experience as a family under the graces of God, and growing Christ’s church.