The word fellowship conjures up some rather strange associations in my mind. When I hear it spoken, I immediately think of coffee and donuts, along with the basement meeting spaces in churches where those coffee and donuts are served. Most strangely, I also think about the 2001 movie The Fellowship of the Ring. So somehow my concept of Christian community has become inextricably tied to a tale of men, dwarves, and elves dealing with “one ring to rule them all.”
Most believers in Jesus are familiar with fellowship and that it describes the relationships they’re to share with one another. But, of course, this definition of fellowship doesn’t completely “ring” true.
To begin with, fellowship is derived from the Greek word koinonia, which means far more than people simply spending time with one another. A crucial aspect of koinonia is sharing—sacrificial sharing by people in community. This dimension of fellowship shines brightly in the description of the early church found in Acts 2:42-47. Elsewhere in the New Testament, koinonia is often translated as “share” (see Romans 15:27 and Hebrews 13:16).
This all points to the reality that my understanding of fellowship needs to undergo significant transformation! As we look at the early believers we see them “sharing meals,” “[sharing] money with those in need,” sharing “the Lord’s Supper,” and doing so with “great joy and generosity” (Acts 2:42-46). When you think about it, this only makes sense—for we’re to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who sacrificed His life for us. As we imitate Him, like those first believers, may we see Him adding to our “fellowship those who [are] being saved” (Acts 2:47).
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 17:24–18:6
Read Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 to see some of the wonderful benefits of living in shared community with others.
What comes to your mind when you hear the word fellowship? How does it compare with the concept of koinonia from the New Testament? Why does true fellowship result in a winsome witness for Jesus?