Monday, July 5, 2010

Church Essence – Body Fellowship

“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”

~Hebrews 10:24-25 (Msg).

As I was led to by the Lord under the theme of unity recently I couldn’t help re-discover this biblical gem above; a passage I’ve actually run from in the past—a passage that haunted me when I sought more time with God to the disposal of my church liaisons, a spiritual introvert I am.

I guess many people endure the same struggle. Some churches would have us feel that we aren’t true Christians unless we’re prepared to invest more fully into the grace of God via, what we call, ‘body fellowship.’

For the rest of the article I’ll refer to ‘body fellowship’ and ‘physical ministry’ and ‘way,’ variously i.e. that they mean one and the same thing.

Facebook Fellowship

For want of a better term, there are many numbers of believers—church-going and non-church-going—who fraternise with those of like-spirit over the ether, a.k.a. cyber space, via the use of a computer, mobile phone or other electronic gadgetry.

This is both a good thing and a potentially not-so-good thing (to be aware of).

It’s good because we minister with one another in very seamless ways and we can be in touch with believing others without delay most of the time. It’s bad because the ease of these communications makes us lazier to do the real thing—that is go to church and talk with ‘real’ people i.e. in a physical way. I often wonder of the people who read my material instead of going to church; it’s really not why I do it.

Notwithstanding the above, Facebook does play a key role these days and it does appear to be staying. We should ask ourselves, however, where is this taking us, so far as the traditional church is concerned.

The Value of Body Fellowship

Where we do not fellowship in a more physical way, we potentially allow Satan to do what he’s very good at—dividing and conquering, based on that division. We can too easily become more isolated to the Body that Jesus constructed as our very means of emotional and spiritual support.

The value of actual friendship within the physical ministry of body-on-body fellowship is immense. It’s sacred to life itself. It’s well known, for instance, that one of the worst modes of torture is solitary confinement.

None of us can truly quantify the positive impact there is in having actual physical friendships with other people—so as to encourage, strengthen, urge and admonish, where necessary. Friendships help define who we are, and perhaps more importantly, who we’re becoming. They create a large parcel of our meaning.

We skirt around this arrangement often because it’s harder and more risky than interacting with people over the internet. We have to invest more effort and it involves discomfort and challenge at any number of levels.

By virtue of this, however, God makes our Christian growth that much more viable, lucid and sustainable through body fellowship, in the physical way.

Growth should always be our goal.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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