The Necessity Of Fellowship

This morning I am basking in the glow (so to speak), as I reflect on another excellent weekend of church life. Saturday was our annual church picnic at our property on the River. Years ago we used to have weekend camping retreats, but as the church has grown, those have given way to this one day blow-out.

Attendance was great this year, there lot’s of folks that came out in spite of a cool, misty morning.  The food was awesome as usual. We consumed two 300lb. pigs, and the usual assortment of salads, desserts, and of course lots of baked beans! Mmmm… the magical fruit!

We had some games for the kids,… egg tosses, water balloon tosses, three legged races, etc. My favorite is always the watermelon eating contest. We give groups of ten a watermelon and just say go! Usually they consume it in about 2 minutes. Of course they have to split it open by hand! This always ends up in a watermelon throwing event as the losing teams chase each other around.

The baptism is the highlight of the event, this year was no exception.

We had a great spot in the river (the ice-cold-whatever-happened-to global-warming-river). We baptized about 20 or so folks ranging from about 9 yrs old to our dear brother Russ who is dying of cancer. We baptized him and his family together. It was a moment filled with heartache and glory.

This is the spiritual focus of the day, not the teaching of God’s word but the practice of it, and the testimonies of His work in our lives.

This day did not happen by accident. It takes a lot of effort to put it together. By the end of the day, I was so tired that I could barely stand, and my voice was almost gone. There were many of our dear deacons that worked harder than myself, these guys are awesome! If you are like me, you don’t mind expending great amounts of energy on an event like this. However, at the end of the day, I like to see that it was worth while.

There are times when our church life seems to fall flat, and isn’t filled with as much fun and excitement as other times. The centerpiece of what we do is teaching God’s word. What is often missing on a Sunday morning is fellowship. Not that we are not friendly, or that people don’t make connections, but it is not designed for that. That is what I like about these events like our picnic. It is designed for fellowship. All day long people were chattering with one another. Kids were playing, people met each other for the first time. We didn’t have a bible study, we lived the often neglected half of the scripture in Acts 2:42.. “And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”  –Acts 2:42 (NASB)

We regularly meet for teaching and prayer, but don’t really connect. This day is about connecting, and eating! Mission accomplished. The Sunday after the picnic always reflects the fruit of the day before. The church is busier with visiting. People talking about the event, continuing the fellowship from the day before. I can only imagine that the Lord is as pleased as we are. His kids are getting along. Loving one another, encouraged by one another, tired, but blessed.

“…and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.”Heb 10:24-25 (NASB)

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