What do you think of when you hear of a church meeting? Would you ever think of a motorcycle club calling their meetings, a church? The other day, I had someone tell me this very thing.
However, it is not just a meeting of bikers. They spend time with each other and share what is going on in their lives. I suspect there were some real friendships in that club. At least, I hope they are building real friendships.
I had a sense that these bikers had a better idea of church than some religious types. What are they doing that different than many church-goers on Sunday? It is called “fellowship”!
What am I talking about?
Church is not just a place on goes to on Sunday and forgets about it. This is precisely what I’ve seen many religious types do. Over 20 years ago, I connected with such a group. I’d go every Sunday and I’d meet plenty of seemingly friendly people; however, we never knew each other outside of Sunday. Yet, I went fo this place for a year or so.
At the time, I was in deep pain and I was afraid to say anything to these seemingly perfect people. I definitely didn’t want to say that I was poor and couldn’ afford an expensive suit. Though I did some socializing, I did not become transparent for fear of being condemned.
For these people, a church is just a place to go. My friend, LeRoy once pointed to Acts 2:42 and he gave this explanation. This verse describes a church, at her best. These early believers gathered together, for 4 things: Teaching, Fellowship, Communion, and Prayer.
LeRoy goes on to explain that it is hard to get a church that excels in all four areas. Typically, they will excel in one and weak in another. As LeRoy is 20 years older, I knew that I could trust him on that point. I simply have to look at my own experiences. In my case, I desperately needed fellowship and discipleship.
I could easily go through each of these four components and how they contribute to a healthy church; however, my goal is to talk about fellowship and the real meaning of “church”. You do know that church refers to a community of people called out for a purpose. It’ss why a motorcycle club may call their meeting, a church.
For me, church has never been about a physical building. It’s why I can easily see a community of believers coming together and buy an old abandoned high school. The same thing can be true of a church that meets in a store or a warehouse. It has always been about the community of believers and the ease of fellowship.
My current home church is a good example of a good job of reaching out to others. It did not take long for me to get a smartphone full of #s. Shore Vineyard is definitely a very welcoming church; however, you need to put in some effort, too. For me, it was harder because of my personal walls. Between the “Transformed” class, good friends, prayers, and counseling, these walls soon came down.
Transformed is an inner healing class and I highly recommend it. You’ll have to contact the office for details. As this is the Internet, I will only point you to our Facebook Page – Shore Vineyard. Transformed is based on SOZO and this class was a great help. At the same time, I must give credit to my friends at this church and I am not talking about the building.
Why am I stressing the above story of healing and overcoming the pains of my past? Without good friends and good relationship my church community, Transformed would have fallen flat. You see, I needed to develop a relationship with fellow brothers and sisters and this process takes time. I needed to be willing to listen to what other people are trying to say.
Yes, people will make mistakes. I know of a young pastor, who managed to put his foot in his mouth. He’s a good man and the guy wanted to help me. Unfortunately, he would blow it. Yet, I kept the relationship going and here’s why. I saw his potentials and his heart. I could see that he would grow up into maturity and learn to be a hope-filled brother in Christ. He grew to be someone, who could be a real help.
I did not choose to look for the gold in this person. I chose to forgive the individual and to exercise grace in my relationship. My only error has been that I did not immediately confront the person. If you have a problem, then you need to quickly talk with the person. I encourage you to learn the art of forgiving others; even if you don’t think they deserve it.
Did I accomplish any of the above, with a simple Sunday morning visit? Sunday morning church can be a great starting point; however, I would not settle for just showing up on Sunday. Like me, you need to make an effort and build a friendship with a few people. Guess what? I am an introvert; not an extrovert. Because of my physical challenges, I had to make an extra effort to reach out.
I’ve found plenty of people willing to accept me. I would encourage you to reach out and don’t be afraid to do so. I have a friend who is a fan of home churches. These churches are great for developing some real friendship; as opposed to a “Hi” and “Bye” type of relationship. A good homegroup can do the same thing.
Yes, there is a lot more to a Christian church than fellowship. I could easily talk about the importance of prayer and how it is the lifeblood of a Christian church. Prayer can also help in fellowshipping with your brothers and sisters in Christ. It can also help in finding out who to talk with. It is also a good starting point for discovering your purpose in a local body of believers.
Did you really think church is just about going to a building and having church? Do you recall the motorcycle club mentioned earlier? Though it is not in the same league, they did appear to have a better understanding of what real church is all about.
It’s about family and I think this photo says it. That is probably the guy’s mother sitting in the backseat. Yes, it is risky and some risks are worth taking.