What about fellowship? Doesn't the Bible teach that the church is to have fellowship? Indeed! The Bible does teach that the church is to have fellowship. But what a lot of people have overlooked is the fact that the word "fellowship" in the Scriptures has to do with spiritual activities. I have before me a photocopy out of a book that I have which contains every Scripture that uses the Greek word for fellowship. An interesting thing about this is — not one time does it have reference to social fellowship. What does the word fellowship mean? It is defined as "sharing, communion, and participation in, joining together."
Another usage of "fellowship" in modern times is social fellowship. This is where we smell the doughnuts and coffee. Friday night a bunch of us got together and had some elk stew, and I tell you it was all right — we had a good time together. We socialized together. We shared in the eating of elk stew and a few other things that some of the people brought. Are you aware that the Bible never uses the word "fellowship" in reference to such social activities?
Still another use of "fellowship" has to do with spiritual things. Every time — EVERY TIME — the word is used in regards to the church's activity, it is always this. And to my knowledge, there is not one Scripture in the Bible that uses the term "fellowship" in regard to eating elk stew, or whatever socializing we do together — not one Scripture that uses the word "fellowship" like that. Fellowship has everything to do with our sharing together in spiritual things.
What has happened to us, brethren, when every time we hear the word "fellowship" we immediately think in terms of fun and games and eating and drinking together? What has happened to us that we see that, every time we see the word "fellowship" we think of "fun" when it is never used that way in the Bible?
No, you cannot find the authority for a local church — as a part of its program of work — planning and providing materials for social activities in the word "fellowship" in the Bible, because it doesn't use the word "fellowship" in that way.
May I make this point? The local church were you are a member has a fellowship hall. Let me say that again. The local church where you are a member has a fellowship hall. When you are assembled together with the other members share together in worshiping God and studying God's word, you are in it! We must learn that this is the kind of fellowship that the Bible talks about.
Is there a place for social activities? Indeed. But let me — as an individual — provide for hospitality. Let me — as an individual — provide for social events. And if others want to join with me in that, that's fine. But let not the church be charged or burdened (cf. 1 Tim. 5:16) with providing for social activities, so the church can do the things God has told His church to do. It's just that simple. And nowhere in the Scriptures is there anything to indicate that the church is to provide materially and plan for social activities. That is the issue. That is where the truth lies!