We live in a highly individualistic society. Let me tell you what I mean:
1) Automobiles and changing, busy patterns of life can result in less time in our own neighbourhoods and fewer meaningful relationships and connections with the people around us.
2) Harvard professor Robert Putnam says that much of our free time has become privatized, meaning that people used to spend a lot of their free time at ball parks and as a part of community organizations, but now more and more people spend their evenings inside watching TV.
3) And Linda Stone, a former senior executive with Apple and Microsoft, argues that technology has introduced something called “continuous partial attention,” meaning that we want to stay on top of all the information coming at us and don’t want to miss anything, so we actually end up living with a lack of sustained connection.
This has been on my mind a lot lately since I’m starting a series about it on Sunday. But even though there is often a collapse of true community and connection in our lives, it doesn’t need to be that way. Jesus’ followers are called to live out their faith as a part of an intentional community.
In Acts 2:42 we read that the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Notice how “fellowship” is a part of what made Jesus’ movement so powerful.
It’s a word that means being together with a common purpose, and includes the idea of contributing something to the well-being of the group.
Today I want to encourage you to take fellowship seriously. It’s easy to dismiss in our individualistic age, but it’s very hard to thrive as a lone-ranger Christian.
So be deliberate about getting together with other believers. We have a common purpose—and we need each other.
When I first became a pastor I asked a question to one of the elders at our church: “So why do you go to church, anyway?” His reply has stayed with me always: “Because when it comes to following Jesus I just can’t do it on my own.”
By Matthew Ruttan
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