Intimate fellowship –

“Loving each other enough to be generous.”

"Fellowship" is another of the four essential activities that early Christians continually devoted themselves to (Acts 2:42). The NT Greek word for this, "koinonia," referred to sharing something in common. If you've ever ordered a single dessert that got passed around the table to people with poised forks, you know what it's like to experience one kind of "fellowship." The kind spoken of in the NT involves followers of Jesus sharing together their love for God and each other, which can be even better than dessert.

Intimate fellowship was what Jesus had in mind when He told His followers to love each other as He loved them (Jn. 13-15). It's what Paul had in mind when he repeatedly reminded Christians to "build each other up" on every possible occasion (Rom. 14:19; 15:2; Eph. 4:29; 1 Cor. 14:26). Its characteristics are what we poetically extol in the "Love Chapter" (1 Cor. 13), and a colorful variety of ways to express it are detailed in every book of the NT. Apart from loving God, Himself, this is the single, most important thing we can learn, and nothing would please Him more than seeing us excel at it. But it doesn't come easy, because there's always at least one annoying person nearby that we can't easily dodge, even (especially?!) in church.

How can we help people who aren't great at
sincerely and generously loving each other to get better at it? We must conduct an ongoing, diligent search for effective ways to get us outside of ourselves and into each other. Recognizing Christ’s love as God’s standard is a good place to start. Beyond that, there seems to be a natural progression from "superficial and stingy" to "personal and sacrificial" which most people will follow if they're led through it incrementally and aren't pressured.

Read about this and other practical ideas your church can use in the new book,
Gold, Silver and Precious Stones.
It's available on the Products and Resources page.