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Rated: E · Prose · Spiritual · #2304489
An Essay on the Importance of Christian Fellowship and Discipleship
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

John 10:27

Many years ago, I attended a Christian Revival Weekend at Ocean Grove, a Methodist beach community in New Jersey. The event, called “Big Splash”, was sponsored by a Christian radio station.

According to the Ocean Grove website, its vision is “to be the seaside community where all generations can know and grow in Jesus”. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this seaside community is home to the Great Auditorium, a 6,250-seat center used for Sunday worship, and Christian concerts, and has hosted speakers including Billy Graham and Norman Vincent Peale. Its pipe organ has over 10,000 pipes and is one of the largest in the world. It was an absolute privilege to attend Sunday service there that weekend.

The sense of community was overwhelming in that small one-square-mile town... bands playing praises to the Lord, sunrise services on the beach, baptisms being performed in the Atlantic Ocean. It was non-stop praise and worship. We were totally on fire for the Lord!

And then it was over. It was time to go home. That sense of being high on life and passionately walking with Jesus would start to fade after a few days when everyday life returned.

In our daily walk with the Lord, we have moments of solitude in prayer, meditation, and personal Bible study. We also have times of fellowship in church and our communities as we strive to live our lives according to God’s Word and show by our actions and commitments what it means to follow Jesus as His disciples.

When I think about the word “discipleship” I sometimes think about outreach. But discipleship belongs in our churches also.

The Campus Crusade for Christ website outlines three ways Christian fellowship can support spiritual growth and speaks of the Holy Spirit’s gift of love where diverse members become a blessing to each other.

The first is to provide friends to encourage you.

The second is to provide people to challenge you.

The third is to provide mentors to lead you.

I’m very grateful that I belong to a church family that follows these principles. Our small groups provide friendships. Our leaders challenge us and lay servant classes offer opportunities for future lay servants, leaders, and mentors. It is also a service-oriented church.

Christian community support is vital to our spiritual growth. Whether it’s in an open-air revival at a beach with thousands of followers or in a small group setting at church, the need is the same: encouraging each other and lifting each other up to follow the Lord’s command to live according to His Word and to be His disciples.
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