The plan for tomorrow is two have two Bible studies in the evening with an hour in between for the audience exchange. So hopefully, we’ll have a good number come to each. Even if we don’t succeed at getting the word out to all the individuals, I’ve talked to the bringers of the largest group, and I think we’ve agreed that they’ll come to the earlier meeting. But maybe no one will come. That’s definitely a possibility. But even if we have half as many people as we have had, the two meeting thing is good. Fewer people in each meeting creates less noise, less traffic, less distractions, less worry around our building, and more opportunities for personal contact. Not too surprisingly, we had far more commitments to Christ made when we were smaller. First of all, we had more workers with us. Second, it was easier for the interested people to find their way to us.

On our end, this shouldn’t create too much extra work. It will certainly be more tiring, but we don’t have school the next morning, or anything. I’m planning on teaching the exact same lesson twice, so no extra preparation time, either. I think the extra service will help with excitement level as well. You get to have all (or most of) the positive feelings that a good attendance gives, without the discomfort of a crowded room. “Most of” because there is something strangely exciting about being crammed into a room that’s way too small for the group.

A need that’s really becoming a burden for my wife and I is the disconnectedness of these Christians. Unfortunately, and unwisely, I have completely ignored things like fellowship and relationship building since the beginning of our meeting. Primarily because I’ve tried to make this ministry take up as little time as possible. Secondarily because I’m not nearly as big of a fan of that stuff as I am of teaching the Bible. Why fellowship when you can teach, right? Well, that’s all good, but even after all the decisions for Christ here, most of these students don’t have any friends that are Christians! Can you imagine that? It’s the complete opposite of our average American Christian-bubble dilemma, where all the Christians don’t even know any non-Christians.

But we have to have balance. Their relationships with the world are great, it brings us tons of visitors every week. But many of them are struggling through their weeks, feeling alone and intimidated because they don’t have an exciting team to serve God with, while there are already other Christians just across their campus! They don’t pray with each other, study together, worship together, witness together, or keep accountable to each other. Big problems. I’m not a fan of “community-building,” but I’m not a fan of Christians living on deserted islands, either.

My wife has been doing a fantastic job of spending some real quality time with some of the girls. Last night she ate dinner with a couple of them while I was studying with St. They were pretty excited to hear that we had some activities in the planning stages. But my wife is teaching them to share prayer requests together and trying to plan another activity just to help draw some solid relational lines between these girls. If we as Christians reflect on the most exciting times of growth and work in our spiritual lives, we will find that almost all of those times involved a group of Christians that we had somehow built a strong relationship with.

We really have to figure out how to cultivate that fellowship here. St. and I are planning an activity for the coming weeks, but it’s going to take a lot of work if we hope to bring our “come and see” group into a cohesive unit, recognizable as a church.

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One Comment on “Fellowshipbuilder”

  1. tesser October 11, 2007 at 9:32 pm #

    Kind of crazy to think I saw you and St only a year ago & now your in China!

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