If you ever had any doubt, pastors do like to get together and talk! I was recently at a pastors’ conference where pastors of the Minnesota District of the Wisconsin Synod gathered together. We talked, shared ideas, got to know one another better, and just in general enjoyed the fellowship of Christian brothers in the ministry.
But fellowship is more than just getting to know one another. It is more than sitting down with each other over coffee or a meal. When we talk about fellowship in the church we mean we share the same faith in Jesus, our Savior, the same trust in the sacraments, and more. In fact, it means we hold to the same faith in everything the Bible tells us because it is God’s Word. This applies to our members as well as pastors.
At a pastors’ conferences we celebrate and strengthen our fellowship through God’s Word. We worship together and we listen as fellow pastors present papers they have written on a particular biblical topic. The topic this time was fellowship – the blessings of having the same faith and God’s desire that we use those blessings faithfully.
What are the blessings of having the same faith? Here are a few:
- Knowing that when we have sinned and asked for forgiveness, our fellow believer’s words of forgiveness are as real as if Christ himself said them.
- Having voters’ meetings that focus on how to carry out God’s work instead of whether a certain part of God’s Word is true or not.
- Believing the same thing and enjoying true “communion” at the Lord’s Supper.
- Reaching out to others with one truth instead of several “opinions”.
One of the pastors at our conference shared a personal experience. He was talking to a pastor of another church body who commented on how his congregation asked him some questions before they would call him to serve – questions like: “Do you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God? Do you believe God created the world in six days? Do you believe the whole Bible is God’s inerrant Word?” What a blessing it is to not have to ask our called workers these questions. We already know what they believe because they are part of our fellowship.
“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)