For the past four & a half years I’ve been a part of a Bible study that for most of it’s life span was just ‘Sunday’s Bible Study’ but was eventually titled, Koinonia. We started as just 8 friends, all wanting to pursue the Lord & learn together. We met weekly, studied scripture together, worshipped together, prayed together, served together, traveled together, learned together, failed together, & grew together. Koinonia’s numbers grew over the years, people came & went in seasons, but the intent always stayed the same.
In March we held the last of Koinonia’s weekly meetings. I won’t say Koinonia ended, because it’s so much more than the name of one particular meeting.
We chose the name Koinōnia because it’s the Greek word used in Acts 2 that describes the function & growth of the early church as “fellowship” which is precisely what we were doing. But Koinōnia has an even deeper meaning than simply a group of people socializing or sharing meals together. It is a bond for a united purpose which in the context of scripture, is to pursue godliness, bring glory to God, and fulfill the command of the Great Commission (Matthew 28). Koinōnia describes an intimate fellowship that shows joint participation, community, and partnership and describes the intimate fellowship that Christians experience with God through His Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.
Koinōnia is intentional. It is bearing one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2), studying the Bible together, opening-up about our lives and allowing others to speak into them, and praying over each other. Koinonia requires a teachable spirit, it requires hearts that are honest, humble, and hopeful, or at least, willing to become honest, humble, & hopeful.
The goal of Koinōnia is to do ministry together. To engage, serve, and grow as one body in Christ. That is our common purpose. We seek to lift each other up close to Christ, to honor one another, to live in harmony have compassion for one another (Ephesians 4:32), encourage one another, spur one another on toward good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25), to confess when we have sinned and forgive those who sin against us (Matthew 6:12-15, Matthew 18:22).
As seasons changed, we discovered that we didn’t need to meet weekly in our familiar group for this to happen. In fact, we found it might happen more if we started to spread out in our various churches, communities, & workplaces.
I’ve been struggling to get all the feelings, memories, & lessons that could go into this post into comprehensible words because Koinonia has been a second home for me. It was born at a time I was just beginning to plug into a new church, it’s where I ran in many difficult moments, & it’s where I felt comfort on nights I didn’t even know I needed it. It’s where I faced conviction & found deep joy because it’s where I spent time in the entire body of Christ. Not only was I meeting with my Heavenly Father as I do all throughout the week, I was meeting with the rest of His children in the most vulnerable, encouraging, & nurturing environment.
Koinonia is where I met my husband! It’s where we became friends, nurtured our relationship, where we served together, & where lots of our accountability & encouragement was found.
It wasn’t always comfortable. Whether it was the heat of the garage we met in one summer, or the heat of conviction & tough love spoken in truth. We often grew out of struggle. We resolved conflict together because we had conflict with one another.
Not having the consistency of Koinonia’s weekly meetings feels like a foundational element in my life is suddenly missing. But I’m learning now that it’s not missing, just going to transpire differently.
Looking back at my Koinonia journals doodled in & filled with notes from the years of studies, testimonies, travels, & events, I started to reflect on what God has taught me. So many of my notes are in shapes or drawings or large fonts that help me to remember the context of the lesson & how it applied to me. I realized through all the scriptures & topics covered, of all the little lessons & practices I learned, God had woven one throughout them all during the years. The notes I remember best are the ones not restrained by lines just as God’s love for us knows no restraint. God has given us so many creative ways to live out Koinonia, so many ways to love Him, & so many ways to know His love for us. God taught me to love Him more deeply and to love His people more effectively; to love outside the lines
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”
1 John 4:7-11
So as I move forward without the consistent meeting time to depend on, Koinonia & the friendships it fostered continue onward as well. Koinonia is not a Sunday night meeting, though I will miss that part of it deeply for the rest of my days. Koinonia is the body of Christ constantly letting Him shine outwardly through us and seeking to share the Gospel in our community.
If you ever even once attended Koinonia, served on the worship team, taught a lesson, shared your testimony, ran sounds or slides, came as a guest speaker, allowed us to meet in your home or garage or building, or prayed for us; if you ever missed me on a Sunday night because I already had plans, but supported me going anyway; thank you. Koinonia has helped make me who I am today, and so have you.