Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11, NKJV)
As I sit to write this post, I am doing a new thing. Listening to Russell and Kristi share their faith through song, I’m reliving some of the precious memories made on the mountain. Meeting old and new friends. Learning new skills and techniques. Discovering Who I Am in Christ as a Writer through an intensive four-day practicum to learn how to navigate The Third Path. It’s safe to say that for this word-weary old rancher and writer, the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference surpassed all my expectations.
Four years in the making, I found the time and resources to take advantage of this tremendous learning and networking event. The Ridgecrest Conference Center, nestled in Black Mountain, NC, seems a perfect venue for Christian writers to both grow in their craft and their faith. From the moment I stepped onto the tarmac at the Asheville airport, I experienced a peace in my soul that told me I was where God wanted me. Riding to Ridgecrest with a beloved brother-in-Christ I had never met in person gave us the chance to share our hearts and learn a bit more about one another. The blessings poured out as the miles passed. Did I bless him as much as he blessed me? Only God knows and time will tell.
Upon my arrival, I instantly began meeting friends and readers I’ve known for years but meeting in person for the first time. Oh, the joy that comes when you walk into an auditorium and a spunky little redhead screams out your name and comes in for a hug. Other attendees, the Ridgecrest staff, and everyone associated with the event overwhelmed me with kindness. The long days of classes, pitches, and networking were worth the good tired I felt at the end of each day, coming long after my normal farmer’s bedtime.
Among the greatest of these blessings was the realization of how my writer’s soul was dry and starved for in-person fellowship. Many Christian writers experience fellowship with their local church body. We often share with others via Zoom™ calls, responding to and sharing “anti-social” media posts, and sending/receiving emails from our fellow writers. There’s something about a physical touch as you join to pray for one another’s writing and needs. A special blessing comes sitting across from an industry icon and they affirm your efforts to grow platform and in your craft are achieving the results needed for publishing.In-person fellowship refills you with God’s joy. #FellowshipOfFaith #Fellowship #GrowInChrist #Joy Click To Tweet
As the conference drew to its inevitable end, I watched as the emcee and the co-directors joined hands on stage to “Pray us out.” As we prayed, I felt a surge in my soul, the Holy Spirit leading me to this truth, “To the full.” Since being called to become a Christian writer, God has blessed me with amazing mentors, wonderful friends, and opportunities I could have never imagined when I began this journey. I have yet to attend any Christian writer’s conference where I did not hear this message in my soul.
Reconciling my experience on the mountain, I began to pray for those who have not yet returned to their churches. Through pandemics, government shutdowns, mask and distancing mandates, and a slower-than-expected return to normalcy, Christ’s church remains a strong, vibrant, and necessary place for in-person fellowship. If you are among those who still watch church in your PJs, study your Bible alone, and continue to cut yourself off from the body of Christ, then please listen. Here are three points I ask you to consider about why you should make the fellowship of faith more prevalent in your life.
- Christian fellowship strengthens the body of Christ. (Acts 2:42)
- Christian fellowship helps us grow in our faith. (1 Corinthians 14:26)
- Christian fellowship ensures we are never alone on our journey. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
We’ve all had to adapt to this fast-changing and frightening world. We cannot continue to stand strong when our spiritual tanks are empty. Please pray and ask for God’s guidance, conviction, or Word that you need to get back to in-person fellowship. History has proven that we will always stand stronger together. Now more than ever, we need to keep our tanks full, our powder dry, and our hearts filled to the full of God’s love, joy, and peace. The best source for this will always be fellowship with Him and His people.
Do not forsake the fellowship of faith.
Please join me this Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.