“I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through
the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake.”
Sunday afternoon was my favorite time of the week when I was the “preacher boy” pastor of the country church during my college years. Following the morning worship I was invited to a member’s home for lunch. As a single college student, I definitely enjoyed the down-home cooking--especially at the Musgrove homestead. Guy and Myrtle Musgrove were in their mid nineties and had been married for 75 years. They were both spry and full of life from country living. The “kids” (70 year old Odell and wife Ada Faye) lived in a house about a hundred yards away.
When it was the Musgrove’s turn to host me for Sunday dinner, Myrtle always butchered one of her chickens and made sure it was fried to perfection. Myrtle also believed that instant mashed potatoes and gravy made from a mix in an envelope was sinful and had to be condemned somewhere in the Bible. Homemade biscuits and vegetables from the garden rounded out the meal. Dessert was coconut cream pie topped with a meringue about six inches thick.
We used to joke that when the chickens in the yard saw my maroon car coming down the lane through the pasture they all ran under porch to hide—those Rhode Island Reds knew that the slowest one might be lunch! The food was great, but the fellowship was even better. Oh, how we laughed about the time Guy caught a possum and put it in a daughter’s-in-law car. There was also the time when 95-year-old Myrtle “got caught” painting the ceiling in her kitchen. She was standing on the counter in the kitchen when her son found her. She had posted Guy on the porch to be the lookout, but he had fallen asleep.
Yes, we had a great time laughing about the adventures of the Musgrove bunch. Sooner or later each Sunday, someone would say something like, “Preacher, I was readin’ in the Bible the other day where Jesus said…” “What do you think He was sayin’?” It was at this point that teaching deeper than any sermon would take place. Their faith and my faith grew as we explored the Scriptures and had real-life discussions about living for Christ. We would pray together and encourage one another. Ada Faye is the only one still living in this world, but we still keep in touch and she prays for me and my family daily—what a blessing because of fellowship!
This is part of what Paul is speaking of Philemon 6 as he writes of “the fellowship of your faith.” Christians grow stronger in the faith through fellowship. At Brown Deer Baptist Church, our small family group ministry is having a new beginning. One group has begun to meet at the Geiger’s home twice per month. Other groups can be formed. If you are interested in hosting or being part of a new small group ministry, please let me know. The study does not require extensive preparation and the Bible study is fresh and leads to great discussions. Groups can set their own meeting times and determine how often they will come together for fellowship, study and prayer.