After Sunday evening worship, about half of the congregation ends up at Wendy's. It's about an even split as to how many get "real food" and how many get just ice cream or coffee, but it really doesn't matter. The same goes for the monthly Lena Hale Sunday School Class dinner. It's a dinner, but it's also more than that. Both of these get-togethers are precisely that: get-togethers, social functions, fellowship opportunities. And fellowship (also known as community) is essential to the life of the church -- and the life of the Christian.
Partly due to our American love of independence, church in other countries have caught on to this faster than we have. Once a friend and I were at lunch in Seoul with a Korean pastor and his translator. While he was explaining the various emphases of his church (evangelism, discipleship, and the Bible), he used a word the translator missed. She explained she didn't understand how to put into English what he had said. After a few more failed attempts, he looked across the table at me and my friend and said, "Koinonia!" -- the biblical Greek word for fellowship.
Aside from proving the expectation all pastors the world over know their biblical languages, it shows the expectation of (and work toward) Christian community in the global church. Christ expected his disciples to spend time together, to be there for each other, to laugh and cry together. We worship together each Lord's Day because we need other believers to build up our faith. We share meals because we as human beings have a need to be with other human beings, to have relationships. God designed us like this; it's part of being made in His image. And so we as the church call each other brothers and sisters; we become a family; we form a community with Christ as our Head.
Ours is not a solitary religion. We are not solitary creatures, just as God is not a God who remains aloof and isolated in His heaven. We should be together in fellowship with one another, in community. Only then can we tell the world of the God who sent His Son to die for us so that we could have a relationship -- have fellowship -- with Him. And that's good news!