That word deserves a paragraph of its own, don't you think? I could expound on the Merriam-Webster dictionary's various definitions of the word, but I really don't think I need to here. Every man reading this knows what the word means. We come together in fellowship in the church sanctuary. We come together in fellowship in our Sunday School classes, in our Wednesday evening Bible studies, at our Friday or Saturday morning prayer breakfasts, in AWANA, UPWARD, the single mom's oil change … I could go on, but you get the idea. We come together in all these various capacities to celebrate and worship the Trinity of our Almighty God, His Son, Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit. We come together in worship, in prayer, in song and … you guessed it … in common fellowship with our Christian brothers and sisters. We raise our children in fellowship, recognizing that— while they definitely are our responsibility— they are merely on-loan to us, just like every other blessing that God has bestowed upon us. We share our fellowship with our friends, our co-workers and even (when we're paying attention … and sometimes when we aren't) with strangers. And the scary part is … we do it whether we want to or not. But what is fellowship, exactly?

I'm glad you asked.

I had no idea what fellowship was until I joined First Baptist Church in Centerville, Georgia. I was raised in a Catholic household, going to church religiously once a week. But, whether it was because we moved around so much or (more likely) it was due to my parents not really being interested in the whole “god” thing, the term “church family” was something I heard about on TV shows like Highway to Heaven and Touched by an Angel. As a family, we never prayed together except once a year on Thanksgiving— and I was always the one doing the praying because, after all, I was the youngest (as if that makes any sense)— we never read the Bible together, never talked about God, Jesus or the Spirit at all. We were a family who “didn't discuss religion or politics”.

Many of you are shaking your head as you read this, and I don't blame you. You were raised in Christian households, attended church whenever the doors were open and spent one Saturday a quarter doing much need chores around the church campus— and that was on top of everything else that was going on in your lives. And it wasn't just you either. Your friends and family were right there with you through it all.

Do these descriptions sound like they're opposite ends of the spectrum? If so, then … good! They should! Because, while there are many of you reading this that can identify with one or the other … there are even more of you who find themselves somewhere in between the two. In fact, I'd wager that there are more of you in this third category than there are in the other two combined. And, you know what? That's okay. Because, just like our Christian walk, learning the places where we can serve is a process. Not everyone is going to be suited for everything.

That's what The Awakening 2018 is all about.

Two years ago, God called some men to come together to put on an event such as middle-Georgia hadn't seen— at least in a long time. The Awakening 2016 was a gathering of men unlike any that I had ever experienced. It had a clear goal. To bring Christian men together to “wake us” from the complacency that allowed us— through our inaction— to let this great nation or ours fall to depths that were, quite frankly, shocking. I don't feel it necessary to remind you of what kind of men had been running the United States before 2016, but we— and many others like us who were similarly called by the Almighty— spread the word and caused something to happen that, frankly, few of us believed was even possible. We elected a man who, while flawed— and who among the great men of the Bible weren't, don't forget— has done some pretty amazing things in his first year in office.

It's time we did it again.

Just imagine what we can accomplish when we focus the same energy that we summoned two years ago a little closer to home. We're going to turn the spotlight onto our daily lives. We, as Christian men, are the leaders of our churches, of our communities and, most importantly, of our families. We are the examples that are to be followed. We are the messengers, bringing God's Word to those who have never heard it at all, never heard it in the correct context, or don't really take it seriously. It's up to us, as Christian men, to stand up and be counted for who it is that we belong to! We have a mission, and it's been clearly defined. It wasn't a suggestion. It wasn't a proposal. Jesus wasn't hinting around at what He wanted us to do. It was an order!

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)

 How do you do this? Through fellowship. We need the love and encouragement of our Christian brothers because, guess what, we're flawed too. We have things in our lives that don't need to be there. We need accountability. We need men— no, your wives, girlfriends, etc. will not do— to keep us on track and away from things that will drag us down, making us ineffective in our responsibilities.

We need fellowship!

The battle is on!

Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Chronicles 7:14.

G. J. Fortier is a member of Ironmen Ministries and First Baptist Church, Centerville, GA. Look for his novels on Amazon on Kindle and paperback. Or visit his website at www.GerardFortier.com