5 Best Ways to Fellowship outside of Church

Lisa Yvonne
5 Best Ways to Fellowship outside of Church

Have you ever found yourself rushing into church, eager to “get your fill up” for the week? Or perhaps you’ve had a rough few days and need that encouragement and motivation you’ll find there to trust God and rely on His grace? Maybe you’re looking forward to the hugs and smiles from others who love God.

While those are truly good things that happen on Sunday mornings, having fellowship with other believers in-between church services can also make a big difference in your faith walk.

Fellowship is important seven days a week, not just on Sunday mornings or Wednesday nights. As Christians we need to understand what fellowship is, why it matters, and how to make sure we are both offering and participating in it.

What is fellowship?

At the very end of Acts 2 is a precious insight into the life of believers in the early church. God did many miracles in their midst, they grew by leaps and bounds on a daily basis, and they fellowshipped together.

Luke writes that they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer...Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts...” (Acts 2:42, 46).

Fellowship is community. It’s deeper than being in the same space at the same time; it is sharing life together.

Why is fellowship important?

God created us as members of one body, to fellowship together. The gifts God has given us are to be used in community (after all, what good is a gift like teaching or healing or wisdom if you’re all alone?) And it is during our times of fellowship that we both receive and offer encouragement, compassion, wisdom, and support.

Also as a result of fellowship, lost people get saved. After all, if we look to the early church’s example, we see that God moved mightily among the believers as they gathered together and they had a great impact in their immediate community.

How can we make fellowship a part of our lives?

If fellowship is to be an organic part of our Christian walk, how can we add it to already busy schedules and full lives? While church is an essential and foundational part of our walk with God and growing our faith, so too is fellowship beyond the church walls.

Here are some simple yet essential ways to increase fellowship:

1. Encouragement

Hebrews 3:13 exhorts believers to “encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today,’ so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Fellowship during the week can be in the form of an encouraging text or phone call to a friend. It can be reaching out when you see someone who is discouraged or having a hard time and sharing a verse, a hug, and a prayer. Fellowship helps strengthen faith (Romans 1:12).

The author of Hebrews shares a goal beyond bolstering someone’s emotions, though. Encouragement also keeps our hearts soft before God and His Truth, instead of calloused by sin. Why? Because even when we confront sin in each other with love, we are helping point one another towards Christ (Proverbs 27:6, 17). This encouragement to stay faithful is essential.

Who can you encourage today?

2. Sharing your table

Sharing meals together is another great way to have fellowship with other believers. In both the Old and New Testaments there are so many examples of sharing a table with others.

Open your home and have someone over, even if it’s for takeout pizza. Hospitality and fellowship aren’t about perfect homes and meals; they are about face to face connection and honoring God. Hospitality actually meets needs within the body of Christ (Romans 12:13).

Acts 2:46 takes it just a bit farther than the act of eating together and shares that those who did so originally did it “with glad and sincere hearts.” As you meet together and share a meal, do it with joy and sincerity.

Who will you spend time with over a meal this week?

3. Hanging out

Life gets busy and sometimes you can’t clear an evening, even when you want to.

When that happens, find some time to hang out while running errands or while the kids play together. Perhaps you visit over yard work, helping one another out.

Community and fellowship involve times and intentional effort. It’s not just enough to hang out on purpose, though; you need to hang out with purpose. Fellowship, that intentional time together, always has a goal of encouraging each other in the Lord.

As you do so, you will build relationships and deepen connections so you can fulfill God’s call to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

4. Praying together

Prayer isn’t just for church services, before meals, or in your private prayer closet. In fact, James 5:16 tells us we need to share our sins and pray with each other.

While you’re not going to walk up to another Christian in the grocery store and just start confessing all your sins, there is tremendous value in sharing your struggles with a trusted Christian friend and praying together for overcoming grace.

This act of prayer and support is truly one of obedience and part of God’s plan for the body of Christ in their times of fellowship (Galatians 6:2, Colossians 1:9-12).

5. Studying the Word together

Bible study can happen both in and out of church. Don’t be afraid to get together with some others who love God and go through the Word together; there is much benefit (Philemon 1:6).

The early church was devoted to the Apostles’ teaching. 1 John 1:3, 7 refers to fellowship truly being a result of knowing Christ and learning more about Him...of walking together in the light.

Consider doing this with those you are close to during the week; study a passage on your own and meet together and talk about it. This is often what small groups do, but if you don’t have one to be a part of, you can do this on your own with others who would enjoy meeting.

However you choose to make it a part of your life, the important thing is that you don’t neglect fellowship. Church is essential to Christian growth, but fellowship is also very important.

How will you fit additional fellowship into your week?

Photo credit: Unsplash/Joseph Pearson

Lisa Yvonne has studied theology at Zion Bible Institute and Regent University and has served as a youth minister, teacher, and missionary. She regularly offers encouragement to Christian women at Graceful Abandon.