lucy duan, brown '16 (chem. engineering); shared fri. gathering, Mar. 20, 2015------------
Although personal faith and prayer is “enough,” and yes, of course God is enough and all you need, being in a fellowship or community of Christ is beneficial to our faith. Fellowship comes from the Greek word, koinonia, which means “communion, joint participation, the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift jointly contributed, a collection” (according to Wikipedia). In a fellowship, we are in interdependent relationships with one another; we share and grow in our faith in Jesus Christ. Other Christians help us grow, become stronger, and point us in the right direction when we stumble. It’s a mutual relationship!
The world and people in it are sinful, and it is often easier to be led astray rather than to be a good influence. Of course we should also be friends with non-Christians, but when it comes to certain advice, Christian brothers and sisters and pastors are wonderful sources of knowledge and wisdom. Our Christian brothers and sisters can encourage us when our faith is wavering, point out our mistakes lovingly, and give a different perspective in hard times.
As Christians, we should be so filled with love and grace from God that we want to share that love with others. Being in a fellowship is one way to show our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Especially with brothers and sisters that we don’t necessarily get along, or don’t “click” as well, we are called to show our love to one another. Being in a fellowship is an opportunity to learn how to love one another, to show patience and kindness even when it is difficult.
Each of us has many gifts given to us from God that are meant to be used to serve Him. Being and participating in a fellowship also helps facilitate that. A fellowship also provides opportunities for us to serve, whether it is in administration, design, worship, bible study discussions, etc.
RUF for me has been a place of loving brothers and sisters who send me encouraging bible verses and articles filled with wisdom randomly when I seem to need them the most and when I have the least faith in God. Brothers and sisters who take care of me when I’m sick or burning out from the stress of life by cooking for me, visiting me, listening to my insecurities. Brothers and sisters who encourage me with their faith and passion for God. Brothers and sisters who encourage me to step out of my comfort zone, have difficult conversations, and love those who I find difficult to love. I am very thankful to be a part of this fellowship and I feel that I have definitely grown closer to people here and as well as to God. Of course no fellowship is perfect, but I think that RUF strives to create a loving and Godly community.
A fellowship mimics the body of Christ; even Jesus had a community of disciples with Him during his time on earth. This is beyond an inner acknowledgement of the relationship, but also leads to action: sharing, participating, serving. Although a fellowship is unlike any other student groups on campus because we have a common goal of doing God’s will. Without that goal, we are just a group of students from various schools who gather, sing songs, and listen to a message. Whether you an introvert, or extravert, or anything in between, we all have a place in aiming toward doing God’s will. We are all members of Christ’s body! J In Thessalonians 5:11 it says: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.