Monday, October 05, 2009
Koinonia - A Deeper Meaning
Last night we finished up our vision series for Neighborhood Church. Throughout this series we've been calling people to move from participation to partnership, and last night I opened the message with a passage that includes this word "partnership." It's Philippians 1:1-11. The Philippian church held a very special place in Paul's heart, and he begins his letter by telling them this. He remembers what God has done in this city, and in joy he gives thanks to God. In verse 5 we see why. It's because of their partnership in the gospel.
Last week I looked up this word partnership. I was surprised to learn that the Greek word is koinonia. Most Christians have heard this word. One of the places it's found is Acts 2:42-47. We find the word in verse 42, and here it is translated as fellowship. Now think about this for a second. In our culture, and especially in our church culture, the word fellowship is very different from the word partnership. We desire true community. We desire to know and to be known. But it often stops there. Not for Paul, though. For Paul, true koinonia has an active component.
This is why mission trips are so powerful. Ask someone about their best church experience, about the time they felt a part of something, about the time they felt that they truly belonged - the answer is very often associated with mission. It's about being caught up into something greater than yourself. It's about having a common goal that takes the entire team's effort to pull off. This is why mission and community cannot be separated. And it's why true koinonia cannot be separated from partnership.