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40 Days of Prayer – Day 19: Gathered in Community

Fellowship Group, Week 3

Community Gathered By Christ: “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people” (Matthew 4:19 NLT)

Gathering

(5 minutes)

As your Fellowship Group begins, center on Christ who is calling your group together. Read Matthew 4:18-22. Silently hold this passage and any openings in the Light of God’s truth and grace.

Sharing Insights

(20 minutes)

This was a transition week, as the daily devotionals moved from themes of being “Gathered in Christ” to being “Gathered in Community.” Review this past week’s readings and journal notes. What fresh insights have you gained from this week’s devotional readings? Which queries were the most meaningful to you? What action steps did you undertake this week? Allow time for every member to share.

Group Reflection

(25 minutes)

Ask a member to read this week’s group reflection:

I once lived not far from the shores of Lake Tanganyika in central Africa. More than once I had the opportunity to watch fishermen embark at dusk in their dugout canoes for a night of fishing. These fishermen would cast their nets over the water with natural skill and grace. Moments later they would pull their nets back to their boats, often coming up empty, but sometimes with nets filled with fish.

These fishermen had much in common with the fishermen we meet in today’s Gathering Passage. Peter, Andrew, James, and John were seasoned fishermen. Their livelihoods depended on them maintaining their fishing gear and ability to bring in the fish. Yet the twist in this Scripture is that the fishermen were the ones being caught.

With these words, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people,” Jesus threw a net over the souls of these fishermen and gathered them to himself. We see this pattern many times in the gospel stories. Jesus was a master “fisher of people.” He had a clear sense of what people needed most in their lives, so with the skill of a fisherman he cast nets of love, healing grace, new mercy, empowerment, and wisdom. There were a variety of people caught through his ministry: fellow fishermen, former tax collectors, future betrayers, zealots, Samaritan women, grateful parents, children, Pharisees, and those labeled by others as “sinners” and “unclean.” As Jesus gathered people into community with himself, they naturally were brought into spiritual community with each other.

As members of the community caught and gathered by Christ, we are not recognized by our similarities, but by our love for each other. Such love is tested if we focus on our differences rather than on the One who gathers us. Our community is also recognized by our love for others. After all, our fellowship is in Christ, so it reflects his character and desires. As apprentices of the master “fisher of people,” he trains us with his skills, equips us with his nets, and sends us out to fish for people.

Prayerfully ask the following queries and invite members to share as they may be led by God’s Spirit:

• Consider a time when Christ may have called you to follow him: What were you doing? How did you
respond? What nets did he use? How did that experience lead you to a deeper fellowship with Christ? How
did it lead you to community with others?
• How would you describe your faith community? What are the challenges, blessings, and joys of your
community?
• In what ways is Christ calling your faith community to “fish for people”?

Going Forth

(10 minutes)

For the last few minutes of your Fellowship Group, share community concerns and praises. Close the meeting in mutual support and prayer for one another.

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