Fellowship Activities can be a Distraction
The Slaves-of-God must be careful to use their assets, talents, and spiritual gifts in the service of the Lord. They must be careful not to be distracted and focused on fellowship activities.
All of the Followers-of-Jesus are called to use their assets, talents, and spiritual gifts in the service of their master. Which means the Followers-of-Jesus are called to be doers and not “observers.” Yet if we critically examine the modern church, much of the church’s energy goes into fellowship activities, of which few who participate are doers and most who attend are “observers.” Fellowship is likely presented as helping people to “get connected.”
But if the Followers-of-Jesus are getting connected, for the sake of getting connected and very little else, then are they really following Jesus? One astute observer suggested that if you cannot afford membership in an expensive country club, then go to a mega-church with all the bells and whistles instead, and you will get similar services (minus the golf).
To illustrate our point, let us consider two sacred cows in the modern church.
Sunday School is relatively new in the church, having started in the 1780’s to educate the poor working children who could not attend normal school. Sunday School has surely grown since then as today we even have Sunday School for mature Christian adults. Why? Why do mature Christians need Sunday School? If it is for education, then perhaps the pastor is not teaching from the pulpit.
We suggest that the primary purpose of Adult Sunday School is fellowship. In that case, Sunday School may serve a useful purpose, but only the teacher is using his or her spiritual gifts, and rest are simply “observers.”
(Okay, perhaps pouring coffee and bringing donuts allows some to use their spiritual gifts.)
Small groups are everywhere. We know what the stated purpose of Small Groups is supposed to be. But seriously, aren’t Small Groups really about fellowship. Again, most of the people in a Small Group are “passive participants,” who only contribute to the discussion. Most of them are not using their spiritual gifts. We suspect that Small Groups exist because the churches are too big.
While fellowship is certainly modeled in Scripture, it is “inward” looking and should not be our primary focus. In reality when fellowship is the primary focus of the church, most of the people in the church are distracted from serving the Lord with their assets, talents, and spiritual gifts.
Some will dismiss this observation and respond that there are plenty of places to serve in the church, such as being a greeter and acting as a security person in the parking lot, to name a few. To which we gently reply, “maybe this is service to the ‘church,’ but if that’s all these people are doing, then maybe they are not serving the Lord well with their spiritual gifts and talents.”
We are not against fellowship or fellowship activities. But we caution the Slaves-of-God to be on their guard as fellowship activities can often be a distraction. Some would call this the “holy huddle.”