• Jill Jarrell Newsome

Fish, Fun And Fellowship

Mike, our friends, Drew and Barbara and I went, as we do every year, to support a local Methodist Men’s fish fry. While watching the camaraderie between the men, Mike and Drew decided they were going to do a fish fry. Our church is always looking for groups to feed the Celebrate Recovery community. Barbara and I definitely felt it was a great idea for a group of men! So they went to their small group and started planning. Now, if you could talk a fish fry, they could have fed 5000! I was worn out from the talk!

Following their Methodist roots, they got together at lunch to plan a couple of times. Acts 2: 42, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” Finally, the big day was here! They had lunch before they all went to buy the supplies. I feel safe to say that there were men there who are very comfortable and knowledgeable in the kitchen. And there were men in their who were lost! There were lots of chiefs and not many indians! But they all had a great time despite the pouring rain. And the fish, slaw, hushpuppies, dessert and especially the grits, were great!

The men cleaned up as they went and then stayed for the service which is always very meaningful because we all have hurts, habits and hangups. The men also led the singing and did a great job! I think it is wonderful to see men, some new and some have been here for years, all get together and have such great fellowship while serving! Everyone using their gifts. Ephesians 2: 10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

There is something extra special and powerful about being in a small group. There is an intimate gathering that forces us to think differently than when we are in a large group for worship. When we are in small groups, we are preaching the gospel to one another in a small community. There is a spiritual growth that happens individually and as a group. The change causes us to look outward and this is how many groups begin serving outside their walls. Ecclesiastes 4: 9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

In a small group, we can discuss those things and act on them. We can wrestle with things in our small groups which is fruitful. We can learn, ask questions, involve ourselves in the lives of others and make ourselves vulnerable among those we learn to trust. Deep friendships are formed and double as accountability. When people get to know us, our life becomes transparent and they can help us with this. They can reach out to us if we are not attending. Lives are sharpened and leaders developed. Proverbs 27: 17, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” The commitment to meet together weekly creates a brotherhood environment. People actively participate in discussion and application of the Word of God in their lives.

There is a confidentiality in small groups so I do not know what these men talk about but what I can tell you is that it is obvious that there is a brotherhood. Proverbs 18: 24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” They are men of God doing life together. I have heard them pick on each other, tease, hug, tell each other they love each other, call and check on each other, invite others to their group. Proverbs 18: 24, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

The day after the fish fry the men got together to clean up since it had been raining that night. I can only imagine the stories. When they finished cleaning up, they went to lunch. There’s just something about eating together that breaks down barriers and enhances the sense of family. Thank You God for our godly friends!