TWO LEVELS OF FELLOWSHIP
There are two levels of fellowship development in how our Christian formation is determined in the Bible record (especially The Acts of the Apostles) and in our history and experiences. But what is interesting to me is how these combine or do not combine. Most fellowship is created with one on one or small group association (small church). This is the experiential and intimate knowing of other people and the expression of various gifts at various times within that small community. If this group does not go to the second level of development it will remain a small and closed unit.
The second expression is the larger, gathered and broader (larger church) experience. There is very little that is intimate or experiential in this model. There are few operational Spirit gifts used. It is mostly audience and didactic with perhaps a larger (but perhaps not greater) worship experience than the smaller group. It is a broader context to cast vision, give support, training, encouragement and enablement for the small church.
If the larger expression stays large and does not encourage return to the small it becomes a fixed and institutional temple model. If the small ignores the large it often misses the more experienced and seasoned leaders and often remains exclusive. Little Gospel Communities are desperately needed for disciplining believers. The larger community (though perhaps not weekly) is to give larger purpose and encourage expansion of the smaller. Both levels of fellowship are needed.
“Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together.” Jesus