Fellowship among congregants of any Christian faith is certainly beneficial and is extremely influential in many Protestant born faiths but to what degree of importance should fellowship play on a personal level in one’s relationship with Jesus Christ? Loyalty and devotion belong to Our Lord and fellowship must grow from it; Loyalty to the congregation equal to or stronger than the devotion to God is misplaced. When fellowship becomes the influential factor equal to or greater than one's relationship and devotion to Our Lord or it is the foundation or key enticement to one’s faith, it becomes a detriment to true devotion to God and instills a resistance against seeking the fullness of knowledge and truth over what one may have believed in the past. It is at this level one either intentionally or unintentionally abandons the very devotion he or she claims to live by, most commonly for the sake of pride.
The unrealized negative influence of fellowship as it pertains to conversion from many Protestant systems of beliefs to Catholicism is the difficulty one finds in separating from the communal aspect of their congregation as oppose to the devotion toward seeking truth and fullness in Christ. Such instills an opposition to the personal desire to return to that path of true growth and fulfillment in the most intimate of relationships possible with Jesus Christ. The reliance upon such a fellowship tends to serve more as a means to pacify the longing for answers to unresolved questions and inner conflicts our soul knows must exist but our system of beliefs does not provide.
Each heart knows when there is something lacking even if not knowing what it is consciously. How many of our Christian brothers and sisters from various Protestant faiths have questions but find no answers and just accept it that way because they don't know where the answers may be found or fear where the truth will lead them? Yet seeking and acknowledging the truth is crucial to our level of intimacy with Jesus Christ.
We are of a physical nature and more easily relate to what and who we sense around us and it is most difficult to completely relate to God until we have developed the strength, trust and confidence in our personal faith to center our devotion and desire to learn upon Him rather than the support of “personal” relationships built upon the congregants around us. If the foundation of our faith is formed on those around us we hinder the growth in that most intimate of relationships with Christ and center it on the congregation first; the warmth of others instead of the warmth of Jesus. However, the discovered beauty of separation from this level of fellowship is answered questions and the fulfillment of that intimacy with Jesus Christ. Rationally speaking, when we know intimacy and devotion with one person, everyone else comes after that person. This is where fellowship should grow from and where its place should be; never the fellowship foremost, then Jesus.
It is only right that we recognize the sincere difficulties others have faced in their own personal separation anxieties from the fellowship state of mind during conversion. It is after all, this "personification" of faith that is the alluring force of attraction exercised by many Protestant denominations. Physical signs of affection; live forms of entertainment, refreshments provided in what should be respected as a house of God, the new media fad of mega churches and alike are often the means of allurement and expressing fellowship yet such should never be the influential means to base one’s faith. On the other hand, those who have entered a truly intimate relationship in its fullness with Jesus Christ express true devotion as they relate to their Christian brothers and sisters because of that union with Jesus Himself; not vies versa. Although misguided devotion is unintentional on the personal level, it has been the intentional means of attraction on the denominational level.
In many locations the Catholic Church is lacking in the appropriate support new entrants to Catholicism should have available to them to adjust in this realignment of priorities. But because of the Church's growing recognition of this and the return and conversion of so many, we are growing in our ability to provide such support; further growth is ahead of us. In reality this support should be from the faithful parishioners with the guidance of the Church, not "the Church" itself. It must always be recognized that it is our devotion in our relationship with Christ, not fellowship, that is to come first and foremost and again, that Godly relationship must be the source of a properly placed fellowship. Today it is more commonly the Protestant converts to Catholicism who know through their past experiences how to maintain a proper perspective and instill fellowship from a relationship with Jesus Christ rather than fellowship being the primary devotion. With the growing number of those returning “home”, scripture most certainly will be fulfilled through the reunification of that one earthly Body of Christ and source of the Holy Bible all Christians refer to, His Church.