Fellowship or Social Gathering : What's the difference?
I was having a discussion with a friend about how some churches are turning into a social club. Years ago, the churches were very serious about God, the Bible, and participating in the church. In today's society, churches have become what some people would think of it as "Den of Thieves" instead of being the "House of prayers". Not all churches are like that. Some people prefer small churches while other prefer big churches. There are good and bad churches around the world but we can't judge how they are or what they do. All we can do is love them and pray for them. We are not here to condemn anyone but to uplift their spirits through the Love of Christ.
When I was ministering and spreading the Gospel in Okinawa, Japan, the churches there were full of Jesus. They would gather around and sing God's hymns. They would have potlucks and we would stay until dark talking about how wonderful Jesus is and get ready for the next church service. That was back in the 1990s and yes I am feeling old (hahaha!). I am highly blessed to be able to do many things such as sign language music ministry, street ministry, and even one on one ministry as a youth counselor.
I used to think that a church is a building where people would gather and worship God. In America, we have many church buildings that ware being not being used. Over the years, I noticed that some may be of financial reasons or other may have no spiritual growth. There would be many different reasons of why the churches were closed down. There were pastors that were burnt out and decided to leave the ministry due to lack of support. Some may have health problems while other may have other circumstances that may caused them to resign. No matter what, I am thankful that these good and wonderful pastors and leaders for what they did to bring brothers and sisters to Christ.
The word "church" in the Greek is ekklesia, which means, "to call out", "popular meeting", or " congregation". When I was looking at that definition, it took me awhile to realize that a church or a gathering is actually some kind of social function where people gather around and worship God, have a bible study, seminar, or conference for men or women. It's not the building that is called a church but the people themselves. The Body of Christ, the Bride of the Groom (Jesus), is us. We are the church of God. Even when a place only have two people together talking about Jesus, God, Holy Spirit through the Word of God, it's still a church.
Even a bible study gathering can be rewarding. A place where we can have both fellowship and social gathering. We can talk about Jesus, the Bible, God,Holy Spirit, life, anything! And it can be anywhere! It can be a the park on the warm sunny day, in a home where we can feel the comfort of the home and be able to just chat and share the bible verses that apply to our lives, and even in prison, when inmates gather together to study His Word, it's a place of fellowship, social gathering, or a church (ekklesia). It can be any place where they are being called out to come and fellowship.
So what's the difference between fellowship and social gathering? No much! Just some people call it fellowship while others call it social gathering. I think the bottom line is that we have a good time sharing the Word of God and enjoy each other life together through love and friendship or as Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
In my heart, we need to bring Jesus back to America. We are going through troubled sea and we need Jesus to calm the mega storm. Let's pray for America and the world. Let's share the Love of Christ and uplift our brothers and sisters in the Spirit.