If a case can be made that fellowship is unscriptural in a “church building”, i.e., the same place where Christians assemble to worship, then a case should be made against all “church buildings”.
Christians in the first century most certainly worshiped and fellowshipped in the same locations. Those who make the argument against kitchens and fellowship halls seem to think their presence necessitates that 1 Cor. 11 “eat at home” and “partaking of the Lord’s Supper in a worthy manner” would be violated. Did Paul mean that worship and fellowship meal couldn’t be done in the same hour or did he mean they couldn’t be done in the same location? He meant they aren’t mingled in the same hour. Paul wanted Christians to worship first, remembering the Lord’s death through the emblems, and once the period of worship is completed, eat your meals. To fellowship and eat meals together most certainly was part of the early christian life.
“But that’s the Lord’s money and instead of wasting it on a fellowship hall or basketball court or kitchen, it could be used for world missions.” That’s how it’s been put to me. Well, some could make the case that the worship auditorium is a waste of money too. Why not meet in homes and send that mortgage money to missions? Oh wait, that would mean worshiping and eating going on in the same location. I have seen church buildings that utilize the auditorium space much better than the nailed down pews on slanted floors because they use stackable chairs that can all be moved for other activities in the same room.
Fellowship is a very very important part of the church. Christians in the first century were devoted to it, Acts 2:42. How is the church to fellowship if there is not place to meet. I love to assemble with Christ to worship and praise God, but as important as that is, it doesn’t have the same function as fellowship does where Christians sit down and share their lives.
The money thing. All of our money is God’s money. And we must be good stewards of it. But a person would be hard pressed to prove that a fellowship hall isn’t good stewardship. Much Christian work can and should be done there. Let me give an scenario that should serve to illustrate that no harm is done by the church erecting a place to fellowship together. A prominent and wealthy Christian, always a big giver to the church, donates additional money to pay for a fellowship hall. The Leaders can choose to take the money and build the hall or they can determine that it wouldn’t be a good move at the time. And they may go either way depending on many things they are privy to in the church. For example, the Leaders may say that it’s not a good thing to do right now because we just this last year had to cut our missions budget and it would give the impression of misplaced priorities. But the same congregation could be active in many ways, very benevolent, involved in local and foreign missions, and by all measures truly doing the Lord’s work, and the Elders could say, “Thank you, what a great plan. We see the congregation doing even more, growing even closer, with this larger space. With God’s blessing, let’s do this.” It’s a judgment call. “But Dan, that was money not coming out of the church “coffers”. Really? What’s the difference between money the church has with the first day of the week contribution and the contribution to the church by individuals? Nothing. The generous Christian places his fellowship hall donation in the collection plate as well. It is all the Lord’s money. Once the building is done, do we allay all fears people have of misspent funds by always telling that the church didn’t build this, but an individual member of the church did build this? No, the church built it. Just like the church built a beautiful worship auditorium that’s used 3 hours a week. The contribution for a worship hall or a fellowship hall is all God’s and it’s from Christians who have a right to do with their money what they wish.
Learn from Ananias and Sapphira.
Humbly I offer this. Dan Mayfield