church fellowships are as bad as facebook

Most churches have “fel­low­ships”. No, it has noth­ing to do with Lord of the Rings. It’s the Chris­t­ian term for “hang­ing out”. Some churches have fel­low­ships weekly, monthly, quar­terly. Every­one gets together, brings some food, and they sit around and talk while the kids play hide and go seek in the church building.

As time goes on, peo­ple make their way from group to group and hop in on dif­fer­ent con­ver­sa­tions as pre­vi­ous con­ver­sa­tions become unin­ter­est­ing. As peo­ple leave, every­one smiles and wave good­bye, and the church lead­er­ship con­grat­u­late them­selves for another suc­cess­ful ful­fill­ment of Acts 2:42 (they devoted them­selves to the apostles’ teaching and the fel­low­ship, to the break­ing of bread and the prayers.).

How­ever, in the grand sceme of things, very lit­tle was accom­plished. No one knew Jenny had an unex­pected bill that she’s strug­gling to pay. Or Dean who is strug­gling with how to be a strong spir­i­tual leader in his home. And cer­tainly no one knows that Susan just lost her vir­gin­ity last night. Peo­ple don’t talk about that, fel­low­ships are happy times. Besides, between peo­ple pop­ping in and out of con­ver­sa­tions, no one ask­ing Susan insight­ful ques­tions about her life, and Dean not feel­ing com­fort­able pos­ing his ques­tion to 12 other peo­ple, noth­ing is ever said.

Peo­ple crit­i­cize Face­book for being the essence of fake friend­ships. Really, these church fel­low­ships have been rel­e­gated to noth­ing more than Face­book rela­tion­ships. Brows­ing sta­tus updates, being enter­tained by funny quotes and pic­tures, and then mov­ing on to the next pro­file page. Sorry, but that’s not true fel­low­ship. That’s not liv­ing life out with the body. Those aren’t qual­ity relationships.

Did you know most peo­ple can only main­tain 6–8 close rela­tion­ships. Yet we hang out with 70, 150, 1000 peo­ple at these fel­low­ships and walk away think­ing a very spe­cial rela­tional bond­ing occurred. It’s ok if you don’t talk to every­one in your church. That doesn’t mean you have any less com­mu­nity. Try­ing to talk to every­one and main­tain some con­nec­tion only takes away time from delv­ing deeper into a few lives.

So what does true fel­low­ship look like? Well I call it authen­tic com­mu­nity, and it hap­pens every day. Peo­ple call­ing each other, going out to watch a foot­ball game, see­ing a movie, com­ing over for din­ner, work­ing on a hobby. It’s peo­ple liv­ing reg­u­lar life…together.

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