Thursday, February 7, 2013

What makes a Christ-centered fellowship?

Jesus issues a very basic refrain in Matthew 18:20: "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”  The logical underpinning in Christ's statement is straightforward-- the physical gathering of a fellowship is always joined by His own presence, assuming fellowship is being done in His name.  The corollary then follows that no matter the numbers attending in a Christian gathering, worship to the Lord will be equally pleasant and equally sweet.

This doctrine is simple, so why is it so overlooked and misunderstood in the modern Church?  It's with increasing frequency you might hear statements like, "worship today was awesome; we had a great turnout!" or on the contrary, "worship felt kind of dead since so few showed up."

There is a fundamental problem with correlating a "worship experience" with numbers.  In reality, Jesus is the "worship experience."  The Bible tells us that He is our only path to salvation, and thus the only reason for enjoining with other Christians in fellowship (2 Corinthians 3:5).  Christ should be the pure and sole center of our worship within a gathering.  And to do that, only two are necessary, as long as they will to meet in His name.

After watching attendance of our college fellowship plummet over the course of two years on my watch as coordinator, my instinctive human reaction was initially to lament of failure and defeat.  As the success of any secular gathering is measured by its size and presence, I foolishly likened the fellowship to that, ultimately basing our gathering's premise on people, rather than God.

The hindsight narrative shows that I was searching for a people-centered fellowship that dethroned Christ from His righteous place in the center.  But the Bible tells us that we must be yearning for a Christ-centered fellowship (1 Corinthians 1:9), one that can be found simply by heeding His words in Matthew 18:20.

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