In a big city like Melbourne, with a population of over 4 million, one of the biggest issues people face is loneliness. It’s not that we don’t see people or have contact with them, but so many people do not have a true connection, or a deep relationship with anyone. Many of us have family, friends, neighbours and work colleges. But with how many of these relationships do we have a truly deep connection?

The same is true in our relationship with other believers—our brothers and sisters in Christ. We come to church, we say hello, we may have a coffee together or even lunch, but how much do we connect spiritually with one another? The bible calls this “fellowship”, which is from the Greek word “Koinonia”. It means sharing in common with the same purpose. We have a common faith, and that’s what brings us together. But we don’t just meet together as friends, we come together in Christian love, with faith that seeks to encourage, care and support one another. We recognise that we are dependent on each other. We come together not simply to share a meal and have fun, but to do God’s will together. Fellowship has purpose. As John Piper puts it, “Fellowship is a mutual bond that Christians have with Christ that puts us in a deep, eternal relationship with one another.”

What unites us together is our faith in Jesus, our common beliefs, our purpose and goal in life. Our hearts and minds are not focused on this world. We belong to God’s kingdom (John 18:36). We meet together at church, in life groups, in one-to-one discipleship, and socially, in order to remind one another of this. We share our lives together so that we can do what God wants us to do. When we are challenged and provoked by one another, we can grow together in God’s kingdom on earth. We were made to live together in community.