Sunday, August 30, 2009



The term fellowship is widely known, but even more widely misunderstood. It's more than a pot-luck dinner. It's not a room called the "fellowship" hall. It's more than a group of friends watching football or hunting together. The fellowship may be the most important concept you will ever learn. However, this concept is not just to be learned; it must be lived!

For years I stated my purpose in life, my personal vision, as I want to empower the masses to embrace all that they were created to be and to do. A friend and mentor to me suggested that I tweak this life-purpose a bit by changing "the masses" to "individuals" with respect to my emphasis. Well, I did change it-on paper! I adjusted it to read, I want to empower individuals to embrace all that they were created to be and to do. Although I wrote it and quoted it as my life-purpose repeatedly, I really didn't adjust my actions to reflect this change. In other words, I put the pipe up to my mouth, but actually didn't inhale!

Now, I have had the privilege of building one of the largest churches in the United States and have repeatedly spoken on the largest platforms in the corporate world. Where is the massive movement after expending all my energies into the masses? Although I enjoyed some great moments "making disciples" for Jesus, for the most part, my use of the "Madison Avenue" marketing strategy has been proven to be meager and ineffective compared to the strategy Jesus employed.

Recently, I was challenged by a friend to be more strategic with the rest of my life. He urged me to be more like Jesus. Jesus, knowing that He had 3 ½ years to live, changed His strategy. He left His tent-making work of being a carpenter (most likely, a stone-cutter) in order to totally focus on His life-purpose. He pointed out to me that Jesus utilized a multiplication strategy that is rarely embraced today. Jesus chose a few to be with Him-some were with Him daily (3 and 12) and a few more took His message and spread it at His bidding (72 and 120). Jesus ministered to individuals who then spread His message powerfully to their villages, regions and countries. This multiplication process became the most effective movement on planet earth in all of history!

Jesus' strategic approach to spreading His Good News message throughout the world never involved "putting up another church", but practicing church. He taught His followers not to build the church, but to be the church. This is what the fellowship is all about!

The fellowship is the answer to becoming the genuine salt and light that Jesus intended His followers to be. My friend who challenged me to be more strategic with my life also painted a couple of vivid pictures that are now etched in my mind indelibly. He urged me to be a fountain. "You don't take the fountain to people; the people come to the fountain" he said. "In the same way, you are to be a light that attracts. Bugs are attracted to a physical light... people are attracted to a spiritual light of truth. So be a light! Be a fountain! If Jesus is lifted up, He will draw all men unto Him." The fellowship operates on the principle of attraction, not promotion. This goes against the grain of most every religious program in our world.

The fellowship is not an organization, an institution or a denomination. The fellowship is a verb that, when properly activated, has the power to change the world-one person at a time! In order to use the fellowship as a verb you must learn the fellowship principle.

The primary term for fellowship in the New Testament is koinonia. The word has the idea of communion or sharing in common with another. It's the perfect word to describe the relationship we are to have with God and with one another-a partnership. This partnership is to be entered into-to join one's self to an associate or associates in order to become a sharer.

The designated partners within the fellowship include Jesus, Jesus' followers and you. The fellowship is not a religious system of do's and don'ts. The fellowship is not in an organization, not in Christianity, not in churchianity or not in any institution. The fellowship is with God Himself (Father, His Son Jesus and the His Spirit) and with His people. The fellowship principle is the full application of this dynamic partnership between God and His people.

Have you ever experienced this fellowship principle? Make it your goal to do whatever it takes to participate in the fellowship of Jesus as we walk through this week's studies. Once you catch on to the fellowship principle, you'll never walk alone again!