by Jeff Tunnell
a sharing of common interests, goals, experiences, or views
companionship or friendly association
a community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience
a company of equals or friends
In Galatians 2:9 the Apostle Paul relates the moment when the other apostles in Jerusalem â€œgave me and Barnabus the right hand of fellowshipâ€ in recognition of his ministry to the Gentiles. This phrase has since been used regularly in Christian circles to express our agreement with others in common mission.
Ideally the cell group will discover similar fellowship in their common missions. Often our fellowship first occurs in simple activities together (picnic, bowling, sports, coffee, events, etc). During these times we learn about each otherâ€™s personalities, reactions, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. Shared experiences can form a necessary foundation on which to build toward the â€œidealâ€ of accomplishing missions that promote the gospel.
As leaders we can organize our initial fellowship times with, and on, purpose. That is, we may construct opportunities that will promote rapid and deep interaction with one another (internal to the cell) in order to establish association for future outreach (external to the cell).
Our mission of spreading the gospel is URGENT. Our right hand of fellowship will be much stronger when we are in the company of friends, sharing the common goal of accomplishing the â€œGoâ€ part of Jesusâ€™ great commission.
How much time or number of internal activities together as a group is necessary to build enough community in order to activate the cell toward â€œmissionâ€? How long is too long? What must we guard against to avoid becoming centric and stuck on internal focuses?