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The old saying “there are two sides to every coin” rings true not only for life decisions, but for event planning, as well. You may have a fixed idea of what you want your event to look like, but there will always be guests and even fellow staff members who imagine it a little differently.
As a result, your attendees can become divided on a number of issues, and one highly important one is this: how to make the best use of your time. Some of your guests may want a more community-centered experience that serves to connect them with fellow believers. Others may want a more class-driven experience that focuses primarily on Bible study and individual analysis.
The best thing that you, as the coordinator, can possibly do is first acknowledge the validity of both sides and then attempt to find a happy medium. So what are the merits of each?
1 Thessalonians 5:11 instructs us, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” As Christians, we need fellowship. We need to interact with other believers so that we can help each other grow in the faith and support each other in becoming more like Christ. But while fellowship is important for practical reasons, it is also inherently good.
Humans were made for one another. Even in the Garden of Eden, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” That’s why we talk with one another, laugh with one another, and learn with one another – because God deems it to be good. So fellowship is clearly an essential component of any gathering of believers.
At the same time, we can’t neglect actually digging deep into the Word of God and learning from it. 1 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” The Word of God is the greatest resource of all believers and the greatest weapon we have against the enemy.
We could study it cover to cover a thousand times and still never know all there is to know about it. The truth of God’s Word is life, and that’s why we devote all kinds of events to it. It is the foundation for our entire life. So, like fellowship, the collective studying of God’s Word should never be neglected.
As you can see, these are two of the most significant parts of the Christian life, and perhaps that’s why so many Christians debate over them. The question we should be asking is not “Which one is better?”, but “How can we integrate both?”. There are a number of ways in which you can do just that. You could try splitting your time between fellowship and Bible study. You could also try breaking off into small groups to incorporate fellowship into the class itself. If you think a little creatively and trust God to guide your steps, He will surely bless your efforts.