In the Church we often encourage people to come out to group events for a time of fun, food, and fellowship. We certainly can provide the fun and food without too much trouble. But, far more than we might care to admit, the fellowship part either doesn’t happen, remains on a superficial level, or only happens with a few in attendance. We might engage in a lot of talking and laughing while eating or participating in activities, but how much of that communication can be identified as true fellowship?
True Fellowship in Group Events Missing Because we Lack Focus
In addition to fun, food, and fellowship, we also need focus — focus on the Lord. He is what we share in common, making true fellowship (koinonia) possible.
There is one body and one Spirit — just as you were called to one hope when you were called — one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. (Eph. 4:4-6)
Coming together needs to be rooted in the One God who called us into one body if we want our group events to be different from what we might experience elsewhere.
Bring Focus to Group Events Through the Word
When I started leading a church youth group, there were cliques that prevented them from acting like “one body” so that was a priority I needed to work on. I implemented lots of community building activities to help break down walls. Since fun and food tend to fit well with youth (even with adults), I used one of our meetings every month for a time of extra fun and food centered around a holiday theme, both common and unusual ones, for that month. Since I wanted to not only rid the group of cliques but also replace them with true fellowship rooted in the Lord, these events included a brief devotional from God’s Word to focus on the Lord as the reason for it all. (Celebrate the Month Youth Activity Curriculum includes a year’s worth of these events.)
Group events filled with lots of fun and food provide a place for people to engage in fellowship but without providing the focus on God, true fellowship may not happen. A devotional, based on the Word, however brief it might be, can help people focus on the Lord, providing a jump start for true fellowship with one another. In addition, it adds verbal testimony to those in attendance who don’t know the Lord, helping them identify what it is that makes this group different from what they experience in the world.