Friday, June 09, 2006

Hurrah for the Fellowship Hall

I am not overly-fond of mega-churches, to put it mildly. So many churches have taken the American entertainment lifestyle and built their churches with it. Worship services are major Broadway style productions. (I wonder just who are they worshipping?) You can get your Starbucks, sit down and see the show. Or you can PLAY. You can drop your kids off for hours! I know this for a fact, because I got to tour a wanna-be megachurch.

So here in Blogland, I have read about several who dislike this and have taken to home churches. Others have a no-social-anything church. I had a dear friend, an older sister in Christ, tell me that having a fellowship hall was the first step towards degradation in the Church. They don’t have fellowship hall, and they won’t eat anything in the Church.

Here’s my two cents. Being missionaries, we are big on evangelism. We love to have new people. When they are saved, they are so happy! And then they go home and realize that now they are alone. They are different from their families and friends. They need new friends, new activities. People to be with that don’t cuss and watch pornography. They need to be around people who read the Bible, just because they want to ! Christians need Christian fellowship.

Here in our little Church in Chile, we are in the process of building a new building. Phase One is the Fellowship hall/mini gym and Sundays School building. We have kids Bible club here. The teens play soccer and basketball, after the Bible studies. There is fun fellowship with other believers that I can only say good things about. Now, Church meetings are the same, same teaching and preaching of the Word. Same music. But during the week, the kids can come and play. This is a good thing.

Some of our friends whom we deeply respect feel that doing what we do is disrespectful to the Temple of God. But its not the Temple. We are the Temple. My body is the Temple!

When you “put off”worldy friendships and activities, you must “put on” godly friends and wholesome activities. If you don’t, there will be an empty space in your life, and you will fill it with who-knows-what.

Hurrah for the Fellowship Hall!


Rachel said...

I agree wholeheartedly! We are big on fellowships at our church, and rather than draw us to become "mega church" it helps us draw closer together as a family and a body. It seems like there is always someone on church property, working, just hanging out, talking with people. There are get-togethers after almost every service of various SS groups or ladies groups.

From a "fishbowl" perspective :D, having a place where the church family gets together to talk, eat, and play, is very important for the pastor! Our church has about 350 people on a Sunday morning, and obviously, it is very hard for my dad to connect with every person, in a personal way. Especially when they show up right before church starts, and leave as soon as it is over. Having fellowships and such gives him the opportunity to talk to people about different things, and not just always be "the pastor in the pulpit."

Just a couple thoughts... ;)

Terri said...

Amen, Rhonda! And I agree with Rachel's comment above.

Susan said...

I couldn't agree more! One thing that is lacking in many churches is balance - not compromise, but balance. Preach hard, have high standards, have the right music, but also have some fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Very good post!

Anonymous said...

We too feel fellowship is important!! In between our Sunday services (we meet at 11am and 3pm) we have people to our house (whoever wants to stay) and we all put our meals together (sorta like a pot-luck thing) and we eat and fellowship before going back for our afternoon service. My husband also makes visits with our assistant pastor to contacts that our people give him to make. When he makes the visit he asks them to come to church that next Sunday and stay and eat with us. It gives them an opportunity to see that we are friendly people who love the Lord and love them too. God has added to our church as a result. Its hard for newcomers to see just how friendly our church is in just one visit...but if they can stay and fellowship with us a little then they can see that much more that we love them and care. We also used to have church dinners in our fellowship hall until the men converted our fellowship hall to a 4 bedroom house for us. We loved the time we shared with our church folk but the people are loving more now that their pastor isn't having to work so many hours and has more time to devote to the ministry and to them and more importantly to the Lord!! We are not against fellowship halls. They are necessary as a gathering place for the church family to FELLOWSHIP. We plan to build another one in the future as the Lord allows us to. Churches that have fellowship halls and use it for purposes other than what they are intended are misusing it.

Tina Leigh said...

I dont know what I would do without our fellowship get-togethers! I crave being with my family & that is what they are! A pile of my church family are gone on a mission trip this week & I cant stand it! For one..I want to be with them, two I'm left behind, want to pick up the phone & hear their voice, go by their home, hug them in church...Oh I miss them..makes me want to cry! They will be home tomorrow so I want cry. Couldnt tell you all the fun we have had in our fellowship hall!!! Love-em, Love-em!!

Happymama said...

I agree with this post so much! I go to a Mega size church that runs about 500+ each service. However, our Pastor is not interested in itching ears, but rather just preaching the WORD as it's laid out. He's interested in souls and not numbers. As a matter of fact, now that I think about it, we don't keep any kind of records on attendance in SS or services. Pastor is an old time camp meetin preacher. And one thing he promotes are fellowships outside regular church services. When we have meetin, we have meetin. When it's time for fellowshippin we fellowship. I don't believe there is a weekend that passes where there aren't several fellowships going on for different classes and groups, not to mention church wide fellowships after evening services. I'm so thankful for that balance that Sis Susan mentioned. We have ministries, not promotions. And we have the appropriate times for fellowships. It's so good to be a part of an old time church. Pastor Goodman often preaches about Burger King religion..."Have it your way." God bless the preachers who promote the Wendy's religion..."Hot and Old Fashioned." LOL

Mrs.B. said...

As usual your post is spot-on Rhonda!

Our Pastor is always saying that we're not to worship our building, it's to be used!

I just love your spunk and grit.....probably what helps to make you a good missionary and helper to your missionary husband.

{{{HUGS for Rhonda!!}}}

Anonymous said...

Grr. I clicked preview instead of post for my comment and then clicked away and now it's gone. Doh!

Anyway, I loved this post. Spoke to my heart. When the veil of Holy of Holies was torn in two when Jesus' died it was a sign that God no longer resides in the Temple building but could now reside in Man. The Holy Spirit then came at Pentecost and the church would never be the same again. So I have never understood mock reverence in church buildings. It's God we revere and he lives in our hearts - so Yey Rhonda you hit the nail on the head! Thanks.

BTW I recently found out that the word church as used in the Bible comes from the Greek Ekklesia which means called out ones. Interesting huh? :o)

Rhonda said...

Thank you all for your kind comments! Seems like we love our Christian fellowship! That's great, because we were created that way!

Tami said...

Dear Rhonda,

I have really enjoyed reading your blog! I am a preacher's wife and we also home school our children. My friend Susan mentioned your blog and I had to check it out!! I look forward to getting to know you.


Joy said...

Amen sister!! I'm "hurraying" right along with ya!

Tori said...

Just found your blog. I totally agree with you. We are missionaries in Croatia and our new converts face the same loss of friends and family. They need the fellowship of Christians. Life is so funny, we are slawed humans always go too far to one side or the other. What we really need is balance.
Thanks this was good.

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

Hurrah!! Totally agree.

I used to be a youth worker with Youth for Christ. And while sometimes it felt like I was a social coordinator - I knew that along with presenting the Gospel, I also needed to provide these kids with an alternative lifestyle - one that included healthy, wholesome fun that was drug, alcohol, sex and crime free. Otherwise, boredom and loneliness would send them back to their old practices. As well, since many of these kids came from broken and dysfunctional homes, they needed "family" fellowship that included adult role models and people to talk to.

Good work!

I am here from Mrs Blythe, who I just met through Joy.

Nice to meet you. I love reading missionary blogs. :)

Rhonda said...

Hello, Tami, Janice and Tori! Welcome to my little corner of Blogland.
Blessings and Grace to you,