This past year (and probably more of 2021) has isolated us more than ever before. The result is sadly that many bad habits get formed, away from the support of fellowship. The new year can bring reflection and cause for renewal. Below are four ways you can begin to cultivate fellowship in community.
1.) Do A Bible Reading Plan With Others
Though we should always be reading the Scriptures on our own, there is something unique and good about reading the Bible with other believers. Decide on a reading plan and ask others to join in. You can plan to discuss what you are reading weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. Here are a few Bible reading plan suggestions:
–Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s Reading Plan. This specific plan is in partnership with Crossway and TGC to include a daily devotional from D.A. Carson and other related resources each day.
2.) Memorize With Others
One of the ways to fight against apathy and discouragement is by recalling what is good and true (Phil.4:8). Many distractions swirl around us to fight for our attention daily, but we want to train our minds to recall what is helpful in obedience to Christ. What we think about the most often reveals where our desires lie. Here are a few suggestions to get started on what to memorize with others, and thereby curate our desires with God’s.
–Memorize Scripture. Whether it’s starting with the Psalms or a chapter from an epistle, memorizing scripture is a way to recall the promises and truths of God.
–Memorize MHC Covenant. This will help you bring to mind your commitment and responsibility as a church member and follower of Christ.
–Memorize the Ancient Creeds. The creeds not only give us a succinct statement of faith but it also reminds us that these creeds were mostly written in the effort to combat heresy. Memorizing these creeds can be helpful in understanding more clearly what the Scriptures teach and what the early church fought to recover over the centuries:
-The Apostles’ Creed
-The Nicene Creed
– The Athanasian Creed
-The Chalcedon Creed
3.) Read Books With Others
We live in a video culture which can be isolating. It’s often easier to sit in front of the television, computer, or phone and be passive consumers. Reading books with others allows you to engage and analyze ideas with others to the effect of iron sharpening iron (Prov.27:17). Here are some book suggestions that could get you started in this endeavor:
–Pilgrims Progress. MHC is reading this together on Wednesdays (starting Jan. 13th) at noon.
4.) End the Lord’s Day With Others
Another great and easy way to cultivate further fellowship is by joining the Sunday night gathering (even if we are on zoom for a little while) where we pray, receive teaching, and encourage one another. What a great way to hear from others in the church, express praise, and share your burdens in prayer. We want to keep the Lord’s Day not just for the morning gathering but also, as our statement of faith says, for “…religious purposes by the devout observance of all the means of grace…” The Sunday night gathering is another way for us to work toward the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Let’s resolve to implement such habits, not merely as an end in itself, but toward the end that we would better “set our minds on the things above, where Christ is” (Col.3:1-4). Changing habits is difficult, so give yourself grace this year; but strive, with the Spirit’s help, to lean into fellowship with other fellow believers that the body might grow as we build ourselves up in love.