Can ‘fellowship’ be a verb?

Do you remember learning about verbs in school? You knew a word was a verb because it was a ‘doing word’. It usually ended with an ‘ing’ and it was an action. Those were the simplified grammar rules that were drilled into us. A verb: running, jumping, laughing.

When I think of fellowship, actively running around and getting involved isn’t what comes to mind. Yet, the answer is yes: fellowship can be a verb. It makes me question then, why are times of fellowship often associated with being quiet, a little bit dull and not very active at all? Are verbs not always actions, or have we got the wrong idea about fellowship?

The dictionary told me that, ‘any English noun can be verbed, but some are more resistant than others.’ This made me chuckle when I switched verb for fellowship… ‘any Christian can be fellowshipped, but some are more resistant than others.’ We all know someone, or perhaps are that person ourselves, who makes a beeline to the exit at the end of church when the leader is kindly inviting everyone to stay for coffee and fellowship.

I think we’ve got the wrong idea about fellowship. When you stop associating fellowship with shuffling round a church hall politely (but with determination) making your way to the biscuits before all the chocolate ones have gone; and read a bit on what the Bible has to say about it you realise that it is actually a wonderful gift from God. It’s the opportunity to be in relationship with Him and the invitation to join in with others in carrying out His Will.

I did some Bible searching and found out that fellowship starts with your own relationship with God, but then importantly it turns into doing things for God together. An article on Bible.org puts it brilliantly, fellowship does not stop with being an inner unity for it is primarily an action word! Koinonia is used nineteen times in the New Testament and in addition to being translated as “fellowship” it is also translated by the words, “contribution,” “sharing,” and “participation.” A close study of the usage of this word shows that action is always included in its meaning. Fellowship, you see, is not just being together, it is doing together!’ fellowship is a doing word! Fellowship is a verb!

Fellowship is more than hanging out, it’s actively doing God’s will together. You can stay behind at the end of church drinking tea and eating all the biscuits you can manage, but until you are actively seeking to do God’s Will with other people, you aren’t fellowshipping.

 

By Emily Owen

Emily dreams of travelling the world and writing about the great things she sees God doing along the way. Whilst waiting for dreams to come true, she happily works for CWR, plays a lot of netball and is trying to learn Spanish.