Looking at the example of our Lord Jesus, I see how He consistently went into the synagogue where the traditions of men and religious formality was the standard; and yet the Father gave Him vital ministry there. He wasn’t brought down by their erroneous ways but instead showed them, through His teaching and His example, the way of truth. Paul likewise went into the synagogue until the Holy Spirit directed him to withdraw. I realize that the synagogue cannot be considered a substitute for a Christian fellowship but rather is comparable to a mission field. The principle, however, that we can take from this is for the believer to be willing to be an influence even in the midst of tradition, formalities and bad doctrine.
The Lord may have a way to use us in diverse settings. Finally, I’d like to offer a few suggestions that perhaps will be helpful to the search for fellowship. Don’t let yourselves be frustrated by the limitations presented by the clergy/laity system. There will be avenues for ministry on a personal level. Many churches have home groups. Seek friendships, hospitality in your homes, personal discipleship opportunities. Take initiative in the areas where you see needs. Pray with people, help out wherever you can with physical needs. As you are going on, perhaps relationships will develop that will turn into deeper bonds of fellowship. Be mindful of the need to preach the gospel to the lost and consider what your local churches are doing about that. Don’t be afraid to take the initiative with some form of evangelism. It may also bring you into contact with believers of like mind. Remember that there are others out there facing the same difficulties that you face. God will lead you, as only He can, to find those people, or to find the place He has ordained for you to fellowship. You must trust Him to do that and persevere in faith until you see it happen.
—Richard McDaniel (Missionary, missionary teacher and trainer).