Fellowship! It’s an interesting word rich in meaning. As the new pastor at Fellowship at the Ranch (FATR), I was curious how the church got its name. One of the founders of the church explained, “We wanted the name to reflect what we wanted the church to be: a fellowship of believers gathering to worship at the Ranch. So once we started brainstorming that desire, the name just came naturally. So Fellowship at the Ranch was the outcome!”
After hearing that, I decided to research the etymology of the word and found it is likely Middle English in its origin, fellowschipe, felawship, and felaschip perhaps adapted from Old Norse félagskapr or félagsskapr. It means a company of people who share the same interest or aim.
What my wife and I discovered at the Clubhouse on Sunday mornings was so much more than a mere company of like-minded folks that I had to delve a bit deeper into the meaning so that I might understand the church better.
What I found reflects the tenor and air of the community at Fellowship at the Ranch Church. In Christianity fellowship means a spiritual communion with a divine being and carries with that meaning a mandate on our relationships with others. My wife Edie and I were immediately struck with the genuine joy the Church expressed at our first visit. I used to teach memory training, but I had trouble remembering all of the people who greeted us and wanted us to sit with them. The place was alive with warmth and welcoming.
In Greek, “fellowship” is “koinonia” and means to hold something in common. Koinonia is used 19 times in the New Testament, and in addition to being translated as “fellowship” it is also translated by the words “contribution,” “sharing,” and “participation.” A close study of its usage shows that action is always included in its meaning. Fellowship is not just being together, it is doing together. My wife and I can attest to the fact that the Church gives of themselves and lives out the mandate to, “…love your neighbor as yourself.”
I first heard of FATR on April 19. Before that I didn’t know a church body existed at Robson Ranch. By God’s grace I now find myself as their shepherd. Being a pastor carries certain responsibilities and trials. In the short time I’ve been on board the love and support I’ve received have made the transition much easier and more joyful than I could ever have imagined.
If you’re looking for a place where people are genuine and the love of Christ abounds, why don’t you drop by some Sunday morning at 10:30 and find the warmth and acceptance my wife and I did.
Ed Jones pastors Fellowship at the Ranch at Robson Ranch. This nondenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. Visit Fellowship’s website: www.fellowshipattheranchchurch.org for more information.