Bill Hybels recalls a time when Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian was speaking for a leadership conference at Willow Creek Community Church. He writes about it like this… “Dr. Bilezikian said there’s life-changing fellowship in biblically functioning community. That was a far cry from the childhood experience of a lot of his audience! The only kind of fellowship that many of his listeners had witnessed revolved around the fifteen or twenty minutes after the service when the men would stand around the church patio and ask each other superficial questions.
‘So how’s it going at work Jake,’ one of them would ask.
‘Fine, Phil. Say, you driving a new pickup?’
‘Used,’ Phil would reply. ‘What do you have going this week?’
‘Well, great fellowshipping with you, Jake.’
That was about it. They’d (find their wives who) were having similar conversations, and go home until next week.
But the Bible says true fellowship has the power to revolutionize lives. Masks come off, conversations get deep, hearts get vulnerable, lives are shared, accountability is invited, and tenderness flows. People really do become like brothers and sisters. They shoulder each other’s burdens - and unfortunately, that’s something that few of the people in that audience had experienced while growing up in church.
In many churches it just didn’t seem legal to tell anyone you were having a problem. Families that sat in the same pew for years would suddenly disappear, because the husband and wife were in turmoil over marriage problems. Instead of coming to the church for help and prayer and support, they fled the other way, because they didn’t feel the freedom to say, ‘We love Jesus, but we’re not doing very well. Our lives feel like they’re unraveling. We need some help!’
The implicit understanding was that you shouldn’t have a problem, and if you did you’d better not talk about it around the church.
I learned that lesson well. When I got old enough to stand on the church patio after services,...Continue reading this sermon illustration (Free with PRO)
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by A. Todd Coget on Feb 27, 2004
Citation: N.T. Wright in For All God’s Worth. Christianity Today, Vol. 41, no. 12.] We live in a world full of people struggling to be, or at least to appear, strong in order not to be weak; and we ...read more
Contributed by John Hamby on Aug 11, 2003
How Do I Know He Lives? How do I know that Christ has risen? What proof have I to give? He touched my life one blessed day, And I began to live. How do I know he left the tomb That morning long ago? I met Him just this morning, And my heart is still aglow. How do I know the endless ...read more
Contributed by Davon Huss on Mar 10, 2003
My child arrived just the other day He came to the world in the usual way But there planes to catch And bills to pay He learned to walk while I was away And he talkin’ ’fore I new it And as he grew he’d say, "I’m gonna be like you, Dad; You know, I’m gonna be ...read more
Contributed by Chris Hodges on Jul 28, 2003
Consider this short poem entitled “Power of Words:” A careless word may kindle strife A cruel word may wreak a life A bitter word may hate instill A brutal word may smite and kill A gracious word may smooth the way A joyous word ...read more
Contributed by Bo Dunford on Apr 15, 2005
A wife went with her friend to the police station to report that her husband was missing! * When the policeman asked for a description, she said, “He’s 6 foot 2, has deep blue eyes, dark wavy hair, athletic build, well-groomed and sharply dressed, weighs 185 pounds .......” * “He’s ...read more
Contributed by Dean Courtier on May 20, 2017
We are not strangers or foreigners, we are His house, His church, His body and God has called us together as a community with a purpose. Before God created you in your mother’s womb, He had a plan and a purpose for you.
Contributed by J Jeffrey Smead on Nov 10, 2015
Encouragement means coming alongside and inputting courage. Where courage has faded away, encouragement is the putting back or refilling of courage. The leaders of the early church gave one man, Barnabas, the nickname "Son of encouragement".