Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Blessings and Benefits of Fellowship

Well folks, here I am again. It has been a while but, then again, I told you it probably would be.
But as my lovely wife and I prepare to attend yet another National Baptist Convention I was led to share some of my thoughts on the blessings and benefits of true fellowship (the koinonia kind). Now, understand that we have been attending National Conventions for quite some time now, in fact, since we were young (very young) adults. We now have three adult sons and a host of grandchildren including one who is now a freshman in college, so, to the say the very least, we have seen a lot of conventions in our day. Not to mention the number of miles traveled, hotel rooms occupied, classes attended, and, yes, money spent.
I guess that maybe the real and true reason I might have been led to write this blog is to "get some things off my chest." I love this about blogging. I mean, since it is your blog, you can sort of jump on any subject you like. You don't have to be deep or even politically correct because you know you are among friends who will allow you to, so to speak, blow off some steam.
I have heard in conversation on more than one occasion the statement "Doc, I am not going to spend all that money and travel all those miles just for some fellowship." I am pretty sure that I am not the only person who has heard this one.
Now, the tenor and tone of the statement sort of indicates that there is something inherently wrong with or wasteful about fellowship. In other words the statement seems to be saying in effect, "if fellowship is all I'm going to get then it is not worth my time." Well, I know I am going to bust somebodies bubble and even rub some folks the wrong way (remember now, it's my blog), but the question I have is, exactly what is wrong with wholesome, spiritual fellowship? Does it have no value? Is it a waste of time? Is it not worth investing in? As for me, I truly believe that there are numerous blessings and benefits which can be and often are received simply and directly from fellowship alone. I can truthfully say that God has blessed me to attend some powerful, enlightening and helpful conferences, seminars, workshops, etc. and these have helped me more than words could ever express. But, and I am serious about this, some of the best, richest, and most powerful lessons that I have learned have been gleaned during periods of, (you got it right) fellowship. I am not making this up folks. When I look back over my life I have to honestly confess that God has used so many of these moments of fellowship with other preachers, pastors and believers to teach me some of the most valuable lessons that I have ever learned.
I have sat in the college classroom and have even had the privilege of helping to train and shape young minds while teaching in the seminary classroom, I have sat in corporate and executive board rooms and assisted in making literally million dollar decisions but, I repeat, some of the most powerful and lasting lessons that I have been blessed to learn were not in the classroom, not in the lecture hall, not in the workshop, not in the board room and not in the conference or seminar but during times of fellowship. Now, I must confess that I have been blessed to sit at the feet of and be in fellowship with some of the greatest preacher/pastor's this world has ever known but I have also been blessed to sit in fellowship with preacher/pastor's and other Christian believers who, in most circles, would be counted among the nameless or insignificant but, oh!, the lessons they shared and, oh!, the richness that flowed from their hearts and lips, trust me, words cannot describe the blessings and benefits of them all. I thank God for each and every one of them. From Chicago, IL. to Seguin, TX., from Los Angeles, CA to Bryan, TX and hundreds of places in between, the wisdom and sharing during moments of "fellowship" have been and continue to be "priceless."
This may have been what John was trying to convey when he said "we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren...." Wow! What a testimony! Now tell me folks, how much is that kind of fellowship worth?
As usual, I am guilty of making this far too long but, hey, that's right, it is my blog :). But as I "prepare to close" L O L (help me brother preachers) let me make it crystal clear that when I say fellowship I am talking about real, spirit led, and spirit filled fellowship. You know, the kind you have when excited and sincere people of God get together. I am not, I repeat, am not, talking about mere social activity. Listen, you can have an abundance of social activity and not have a single ounce of true fellowship. When I say fellowship I am talking about the Acts 2:42 kind of fellowship. These people, these New Testament Christians, the word says, "devoted themselves to the Apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." It is clear that true "fellowship" is not simply "breaking bread".
Well, I guess I have rambled on long enough but to use the term of a dear fellow pastor and friend of mine "I feel better." God is good and I thank Him for the privilege of fellowship.
And, once again, as Sister Pullam and I launch out on yet another journey into the sphere of the National Baptist Convention I thank God in advance for the blessings and benefits we are going to receive not just from the meeting itself, not just from the powerful sermons we will hear, not just from seeing friends, but also from the FELLOWSHIP! God bless you all.
By the tie of Calvary,
Pastor W.L. Pullam


Pastor Andre' A. McGhee said...

That's right! This is your blog and what a thought provoking post it is! Fellowship is indeed essential to meaningful growth to every individual whether we realize it or not. Thank for such a rich message! I'm praying for you and your wife to have a safe and enjoyable time at your national convention. God Bless!

Vietta P's Two Cents Worth said...

Wow! Thanks Pastor W.L. for the message. I say Amen!! Truly, I have reaped many benefits of "koinonia" fellowship. I would take nothing for the experiences and its rewards. No man is an island and we NEED the fellowship of one another. I look forward to every opportunity to share with my sisters and brothers in Christ.

Pastor Kevin L. Pullam said...

Absolutely... As we engage in the exchange of the love of Christ with one another, there is a nurishing and nurturing that occurs like none other. Thank you for such a rich post.


Pastor Kraig L. Pullam said...

I agree with the others who have expressed the richness of your message. Koinonia is essential to the body of Christ. There is no mistake-in even looking at the Great Commandment recorded in John 13:35-that love and fellowship for the brethren is essential.

As it relates to national conventions - I think that is what must be seen - that it is a fellowship. I have had my share of questions (not disappointments-that is taking it too far) regarding the national convention process, in thinking that not enough 'change' is taking place. But then again - the national convention REFLECTS what we experience as Pastors in our local churches. MOST Pastors have a dynamic vision that would literally storm the gates of hell. But what happens? The vision is on hold, awaiting approval from the majority, stagnant, etc. Why? Because those who follow DO NOT and WILL NOT support. They come to church to fellowship; but they DO NOT come to impact and elevate society. This is tragic. Thurston & Shaw, for example, have GREAT visions. But the majority of the Pastors (this does not include W.L. Pullam) spend their time doing the same things they accuse their members of: complaining rather than following, believing, GIVING, and helping.

If we could just find a way to help these guys fulfill their vision for the larger 'faith community', then more people will begin to see why these organizations exist in the first place.

You hit it right on the nail - there is a difference between social activity and spiritual fellowship.

Kim G. said...

What a great post about fellowship. I look forward to reading more of your inspiring blog's. God Bless you and Mrs. Pullam.

Keith D. Witherspoon said...

Great Post!!!


I am new to this blogging community, so I am just walking around out here in cyberspace peeking into some saints walk with Christ. I happen to be led this away, and what a mighty testimony on the subject on what true fellowship. True fellowship, should be talking about what GOD has done for us, not socializing about politics or sports. Don’t get me wrong, it is not a sin to talk about politics or sports, but there is a time and place for that. Thank You for allowing me to see the GOD we serve operating in the lives of his saints.

May GOD continue to smile on you and yours.

Pilgrim in the wilderness

Rev.Aaron Holcombe said...

Fellowship is so important to the lilfe of the believer. I pray you have a great time at the National convention this year. Thank God for your faithfulness to Him.

Fitts said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog post Pastor, Very well put! God bless!



Vietta P's two cents said...

Melvin, What are you going to do about this Blog Site? Are you going to place some golden nuggets of wisdom and exciting experiences you have had in the past? Or you could just share how your are feeling about a certain situation and/or revelation you have had about someone or something. Just curious and wanted to offer some suggestions. WHAT????

You should fish or cut bait. In other words, as Grandma would say... piss or get off the pot!! Lol. Look forward to your NEXT post.

Show me some Love!

Arhone said...

Pastor Pullam, thank you so much for sharing your testimony with me concerning your move to fulltime ministry.All I can say is W.O.W. look at how God has moved and honored your step of faith. What a great source of encouragement to a young pastor such as myself!
My biggest fear is with a small congregation,, a wife a young daughter and financial obligations, that I will actually regress rather than being able to go forward. The worry about my family and our future...just to think about it paralyses me.
But I know that God specializes in situations like this. I need the faith to act on faith and not foolishness.
Pastor Pullam please keep me in your prayers I really want to honor God in my decision.
And thanks for sharing,I think you do need to put this in a book...I bet there are thousands of preachers out there who struggle with the same situation.

God be praised. Praying for you.

Rev. Tony Rhone

Pastor W.L. Pullam said...

Thank you pastor TR. I am glad that sharing my experience hepled in some small way.
I too had a small congregation in a neighborhood where the median annual income was under $10,000, and the church had, with the excepion of my father in the ministry who was my predecessor, a history of keeping pastors for a maximum of two years (he survived for 9 years.. lol). On top of all of that, the church was in the city of my birth, in a declining neighborhood and among people I knew, and at the same time I had three children and a ton of financial obligations. So, trust me my brother, I feel you 100% :). By the grace of God,I have been here for twenty three years now, eighteen of them as full time pastor and have been blessed to be the longest tenured pastor in the history of the church. Wow! What a mighty God we serve! (just had to shout right there).
Rest assured, I will continue to lift you,your family, your ministy and the church family in prayer. God is going to work it out in His time. God bless you son and thank you again for the kind and encouraging remarks.

Lorenzo Watson said...

Nice blog. enjoy your post. Following you on twitter. I see that you haven post since June. Keep up the good work