By Not Known
Someone has identified loneliness and social fragmentation as a feature of our times. We busily pursue our own agendas and make only passing connections with others – and many of these are electronic and fragmentary anyway.
This can also happen in church. Let’s face it, church gatherings are sometimes dull and church people sometimes ‘impossible’. Meanwhile there’s a great Bible talk that we can download from somewhere elsewhere and absorb through our headphones in a solo experience. Why meet up with real people who are less than perfect when we can create a perfect virtual church of our own tastes?
The Bible urges us not to neglect ‘meeting together’ (Heb 10:25). The word used is the term for a synagogue – which was a place and occasion for God’s people to come together.
How can Christian people meet together? The basic meeting is our Sunday time for gathered worship and the associated activities. It’s a great habit to be in church every Sunday. This meeting is complemented by small groups and our gathering at occasions like prayer meeting and church camp. Of course, we can also ‘meet’ through the new e-media, especially in its more interactive forms. However, it remains true that there is no real substitute for meeting face- to-face (2 Jn 12).
It is one thing for Christians to meet together, but another to use the time well. We sometimes use the word ‘fellowship’ for any occasion when Christians meet up. However, fellowship is more than some believers meeting, eating and having general chit-chat. Fellowship happens when our meeting has a spiritual focus, whatever the immediate topic of conversation. As Hebrews 10:25 puts it, we are to meet to encourage one another in the faith and especially in view of the Lord’s return (Heb 10:25).
There are some timely challenges for us in this:
- Do we individually make it a priority to meet regularly with God’s people, or do we minimise such contacts?
- When we meet with other Christians do we make it an opportunity for spiritual encouragement, or do we fritter all the time away in trivia?
- Do we only meet with people who are less ‘senior’ to ourselves and thus avoid accountability where it is needed?
- Do we, as a church, organise our meetings such that they promote fellowship with one another, as well as a vertical relationship with the Lord?
Let’s heed the encouragement of Scripture to meet together regularly.