40 Days of Discipline

40 Days of Discipline: Day 20 – Fellowship

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24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.  (Hebrews 10:24 – 25)

Theme:  If not You, then Who?

To all our commentators, I can’t thank you enough for your contribution to our review of the Worship over the last three days. You really made a tremendous difference.

Today we turn our attention to the Discipline of Fellowship.  Social distancing due to Covid-19 has caused many to think more deeply about the importance of relationships.  Thankfully, technology has allowed us to stay in contact with friends and associates.  However, most of us have had to be much more selective with our fellowship list, and it is possible that Christian fellowship has suffered. 

Often when Christian fellowship is discussed, the focus is on feelings (e.g., what is the level of affection in the community).  Feelings and emotions don’t tell the whole story where Christian fellowship is concerned though.  As you can see in our passage today, fellowship is also very much about doing (i.e., how the community executes God’s mission).  If we are going to be successful in carrying out God’s mission, we need effective fellowship to spur us “on toward love and good deeds”.

Hopefully we are making Christian fellowship a high priority even during the pandemic.  The need for us to execute God’s mission isn’t lessened by the pandemic.  In fact, in many circumstances the need is greater. 

Please read the passage above and answer the questions below. 

Questions:

  • How have you prioritized Christian fellowship during the pandemic?
  • What challenges to Christian fellowship have you encountered and how have you addressed them? 

6 thoughts on “40 Days of Discipline: Day 20 – Fellowship

  1. During the pandemic , my ladies bible study group resorted to using zoom meeting to continue our weekly study. We usually have a book to discuss. In the beginning I find it not satisfying being a very outgoing person. I prefer studying and fellowship in person and not on line, but since I have no choice, I never succumbed to disappointment, and still continue attending bible study and fellowship through zoom meeting.

    Now I’m getting used to it. At least better than not having a bible study and fellowship at all. We can still pray, study, and have fellowship together. We still follow our usual schedule, study one chapter each week on Wednesdays from 10:30 am to 11:20 am. Have a 10- minute break (leave the zoom meeting open) then from 11:30 we break out into groups of 4 with four or five ladies in each group. We have amazing leaders to lead the prayer and discussion. More questions are discussed till 12:00 noon. We all go back to the main meeting room at the end, and the coordinator closes the study with updates, reminders and prayer. Later at night or on the next day the coordinator will send us all by email, the prayer requests of members so that each member could pray for one another. I really miss the normal days of bible study and fellowship time I had before. I wonder if we can all go back
    to the way it used to be. But as for now, I’m grateful that there is zoom technology.

    The challenges I encountered:
    I miss the potluck events – for example, Christmas lunch, summer break lunch or spring picnics, and chatting with friends in person. I want to talk or confide to my friend in person. Although there were days my mentor and prayer partner from this bible study group can spare some time with me and we do Line video chat, have coffee or tea like virtual afternoon tea, and we can share with each other our concerns and prayer requests. Again, I am grateful that it’s still possible to meet this way. I admit, there was a time I feel sad or simply not content with the way we study and have fellowship. I think the pandemic made me much stronger and resilient. it was hard to accept situations that can’t be changed. Now , I tend to write more on my journal than before. i pray a lot. I know the Lord is the one in control and there will be an end to this pandemic. I just have to remain faithful and with a grateful heart, I praise the Lord for I am safe and healthy as well as my loved ones, friends and relatives.

  2. To be honest, I have not prioritized Christian fellowship during the pandemic. Pre-pandemic, I was in church every Sunday morning, and when there were other church events, I would sometimes participate. However, since we don’t have in-service worship anymore, I listen to the services online.

    I think it was during the Fellowship portion of 40 Days of Discipline last year, that I actually decided to consider being a part of my church’s Women Bible Study. The obvious challenge to physically getting together is the pandemic. I haven’t addressed this challenge, but I still want to experience a Bible Study, so I know that after the pandemic, when it’s safe to gather again, I still plan to be a part of one.


  3. How have you prioritized Christian fellowship during the pandemic?

    I have sought to meet online with believers at home and abroad. In the early days of the pandemic the matter of how to celebrate the Lord’s Supper engaged my mind. And I wrote a short piece recommending that the church could meet on social media as a body of Christ and observe this ordinance together. This was of help to several fellowships in Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and a few churches in New York.
    During the period we launched a ministry that is totally on social media.
    Also, the senior believers have been impacted more than some persons of a younger generation. Particularly seniors without strong family ties or where relatives are not in close geographical proximity to their loved ones. Sharon and I have focused on one elderly faithful believer to periodically visit to encourage. She was not doing well in the beginning due to the physical distancing that was necessary.

     What challenges to Christian fellowship have you encountered and how have you addressed them?

    As observed in the reflection from the blog, the meeting together physically has a greater binding impact than merely the social media options. It is so refreshing when we are able to meet physically with fellow believers. Observing the public health protocols of course.
    Also, with the proliferation of online options, it can seem overwhelming at times because of the multitude of invitations to different events.
    For persons who have difficulties with the use of the technologies, they have not been able to benefit as much. Also, some persons have been at a disadvantage due to their financial situation. These include persons who are not able to upgrade their phone, do not possess a personal computer or tablet, or do not have access to broad band internet facility. Some of these persons have more limitations in engaging in fellowship during the ongoing pandemic.

  4. Honestly it hasn’t been a priority for me. The introvert in me has been content doing remote church without the fellowship. Transition to a new community and church created comfortable conditions to not miss the fellowship. I know the importance of the fellowship and will look for ways to get entrenched in a home church to serve and grow. Now I have to let my actions match my stated desire 🙂
    Much of my fellowship has been via text or FaceTime chats. They are however no substitute for in person but better than no contact at all.

  5. I miss the in person and now they are not even doing zoom.
    I go to church sometimes but wearing the mask is uncomfortable.
    Can’t imagine what people went through years ago without this technology and having to be isolated during pandemics.
    Anthony made an important point re the people who don’t have access etc.

  6. Initially, it was a bit awkward not to be in a physical church setting with believers but that was not of primary concern in terms of fellowshipping as I personally found a deeper fellowship spending quality time with God and feeling more fulfilled than simply engaging in church activities, for the most part. Yet there were times I felt like being in a “church setting” with other believers.

    Fellowshipping with believers online is great but it lacks the kind of synergy that exists when we assemble physically. Sometimes, I wish we could all unmute our microphones and sing melodiously or not so melodiously together! I am blessed to have the pastor right here with me so hearing the dynamic delivery of the Word is no problem and we have a great service in all its entirety in 45 minutes! I speak the truth. I lie not! ” . . .all liars shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone : which is the second death. Revelation 21 v 8 (KJV)

    It’s heartwarming fellowshipping online not only with believers here in Trinidad & Tobago but with others from different parts of the world, especially from my homeland, Jamaica – many of whom are in different parts of the world. Fellowship is more than going to church. It is connecting with people and experiencing warmth, love and appreciation, among other things. During the pandemic, I’ve also prioritized fellowship by reaching out online to individuals who are brokenhearted , sad and lonely.

    Some of the challenges include social distancing, not being able to physically be there with others, having to be online more than I would like to be as if one is not careful, one could spend much more time than one would like online as links are sent from different churches, organizations and friends to join them for numerous church activities, some which at times exceed the expected time especially prayer meetings that are supposed to be for an hour and a half but which end up being three hours.

    Some of the challenges such as social distancing ( & hygiene protocols) I observe carefully but it’s difficult not to do like Jesus’ disciples and fall asleep at the wrong time. I’m being very honest so thanks for not chastising me.

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