So is it possible to have genuine fellowship in only 15 minutes per week???
As we heard from Phil Bartelt’s sermon this past Sunday, the answer is a resounding NO!
This past June we started an 8am traditional worship service. In the weeks following, I started hearing from people who go to the 8am service, AND from people who go to the 9:30 service, that they missed seeing each other. This sentiment was one reason we avoided starting the additional service for many years. We didn’t need the space; everyone could fit comfortably in our sanctuary in one service. So we questioned, Wouldn’t a second service divide the church? Create disunity? Put a damper on fellowship?
The simple answer is Yes. You can attend the 8am service and leave the church building before most of the people arrive for the 9:30am service. And you can come to worship at 9:30am, by which time most of the worshippers from 8am have left or are in their Sunday School class. The two may never meet.
But does that mean fellowship has been dealt a death blow?
Not at all. The fact that we miss people from the other service has made us realize that we need to be intentional about building relationships. We should have had that attitude of intentionality in the first place. We have found that having 15 minutes of fellowship gave us the false impression that we were actually connecting with one another. It was like a shot of fellowship that inoculated us from the real thing. Our mission statement says the fellowship is about building authentic, accountable, healthy relationships. That’s not possible in 15 minutes per week! Our mission statement describes relationships where people delight in being together. If we truly miss people from the other service, then we need to be intentional about building a deep relationship with them. Call them on the phone. Get together for lunch or coffee. Visit them. Encourage them and pray for them. Then do it again and again. Turn that 15 minutes into an hour or two each week and watch the relationship blossom!
I urge you to ask yourself how you can apply that teaching to a relationship!