The following blog post is an extract taken from our Food for the Journey booklet which covers seven disciplines for Christian living. If you would like to download a digital copy of the booklet and work through the daily devotions please click here: FOOD FOR THE JOURNEY
THE DISCIPLINE OF FELLOWSHIP:
It has been found that very meaningful growth takes place in small groups where there can be openness, sharing, discovery, comfort, honesty and encouragement — all contributing to a healthy interdependence.
At New Harvest we have Fellowship Groups aimed at providing a “safe place” for people to share the journey closely with each other, allowing for people to be at different places in their walk at different times. In other words, some may be soaring and feeling totally on top of things, others may be struggling and a bit empty, others may be just pleasantly comfortable, still others may be deeply hurt and fragile – any one of us could be at any one of these places at different times – so allowance and acceptance of where you are at, is totally respected in the group. Your fellowship group leaders, you will find, are deeply committed, humble, gentle people, who have a real concern for your well-being and growth as a disciple, but they cannot and must not ever be Jesus to you, so they will gently always point you to Him, while doing whatever they can to make your journey easier.
The word interdependence means a healthy interaction of people with each other where people are there for each other in positive ways that are not manipulative or clinging, yet supportive and committed. It’s a giving and receiving of love. This, as you can imagine requires sensitivity, kindness, a willingness to think the best of one another, a commitment to try and understand each other and hear each other, above all learning to relax in each other’s company and enjoy one another.
As a result of the commitment to Christ of each one in the group, He will always be the main focus and purpose, for it is Him that draws us together and unites us.
Within any group of people meeting together, there are bound to be times of differences of thought and opinion. Respect for each other’s ways of doing things and looking at things is very important. The group will aim at responding to each other in ways that do not communicate rejection of what the other is sharing, and will try not to defend, attack, correct or offer quick advice but listen patiently with each other to what the Lord is saying. It is very possible there might be someone in the group you really do not relate to, whom you really struggle with. It will be very important for you and the group that you ask the Lord how He sees that person and subsequently to try to look at that person through His eyes. This is always the challenge of loving acceptance of one another. Remember that somebody may be feeling that way about you!
Christ will always meet our deepest needs, but He certainly longs for us to care for one another and to continually encourage each other on the journey.
Whatever is shared in the group will be treated with confidentiality and respect, for it is sometimes not easy to share.
With the current social distancing measures it can be difficult to have times of fellowship at the moment. Many groups have started utilising online video calls via Whatsapp or Zoom to keep in touch as a group. If you are not in the group and would like to be please send and email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get in contact with you.
May you be totally blessed in your fellowship group and a blessing to them!