I have been thinking a lot about fellowship with in churches this past few weeks. Today a thought came to my mind. In a way this thought is a lot like billiards or the game of pool. A church may be made up of several individuals, and a few groups of people (at least in a small town church like my own). Imagine those groups and individuals represented by several scattered balls, and a few setting side by side. They may go along for several years in their little cliches or groups, and the individuals remain solitary.
The first change I thought of was of a new pastor or leader coming into the church. Being an outsider in most cases these new leaders are accepted, at least at some level by everyone. By virtue of their influence they may make connections with groups and individuals. Unfortunately many times this is really like the pastor being the cue ball on the billiard table. The pastor interacts, attracting some, setting others off, and building new groups or clusters. In the end this may actually cause scattering in view of the table, and new groups form into new clusters over time.
This may happen again, with the change of pastoral leadership in a church.
The second thought is similar, but in regard to visitors to our church. Instead of bouncing balls around the table, these new families and faces do not have the influence or acceptance. All too often they come into a church, and instead of causing separation of groups or clusters in the church they are the ones bounced around. Groups, clusters, and individuals in the church have a mysterious force field or glue holding them together. Since the new person or family can not get into a group they either must become individuals or all too often they drift away from the church to another in search of a place of acceptance.
I pray that our churches are not made up of cliches, but of Christians who are filled with Christ and the Fellowship principle of the Bible. Opening their hearts and lives to one another, and any person who comes into the fold. May we always be open, loving, and accepting in our churches.