Staying Connected When We’re Apart

Rick Warren is fond of saying, “You are not just called to believe, but to belong.”

While I disagree with some of Warren’s theology, he was right when he wrote in The Purpose Driven Life ,“We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship and formed for a family.”

However, during these COVID-19 days, our community is disconnected. Our fellowship is somewhat fractured. And our families, both physical and spiritual, have become detached, disjointed, and disassociated.

Our spiritual fellowship with one another has been affected by prolonged periods of time where churches were not assembling. Remote Bible studies that are continuing. And now with limited contact by “social distancing (which should be called physical distancing) in single Sunday assemblies. Some churches due to their size or the size of their building are unable for everyone to all assemble at the same time.

My friend and fellow blogger, Roger Shouse, recently referenced a Barna Poll that “one in three practicing Christians has stopped attending church during COVID-19.” According to their survey 53% have streamed their regular church assembly over the past four weeks, while 34% are “church hopping” digitally streaming a different online service than their own.

Sadly, 32% have “dropped out of church for the time being.” They are not attending, streaming worship services, or participating in on-line Bible studies.

My facebook friend and preaching colleague, Wilson Adams, sadly posted about a friend of his who took his own life. “Tragically,” Wilson observed, “we are seeing more reach The End of hope. Job loss, income loss, relationship loss, ‘normal’ loss.”

He further writes, “Then there is the fear factor: fear of catching the virus, fear of isolation, fear of the future, fear of the unknown, and even the fear of not knowing how to cope with fears.”

According to a poll published on the American Psychiatric Association web page “Nearly half of Americans (48%) are anxious about the possibility of getting coronavirus, COVID-19, and nearly four in ten Americans (40%) are anxious about becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, but far more Americans (62%) are anxious about the possibility of family and loved ones getting coronavirus.”

“More than one-third of Americans (36%),” reports the APA, “say coronavirus is having a serious impact on their mental health.”

“The stress and anxiety caused by the pandemic can and is having an effect on people’s physical and mental health,” confirmed APA President Bruce Schwartz, M.D.

Add to all this, the recent racial unrest, violence in major cities, partisan political bickering during an election year, and the constant stream of bad news piped into our homes 24/7 and you have created a terrifying emotional tsunami of discouragement, depression, and despair.

More than ever God’s people need each other. We need connection. Community. And fellowship.

Encouragement is especially needed right now. “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all” (I Thess. 5:14).

Here are a few suggestions.

1. Give special attention to keeping contact with those members who are at greater risk mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually.

2. Write personal notes to shut-ins, elderly, sick, and others with special needs.

3. Frequently call other members just to “check-in” and see how they are doing.

4. The elders of one church took home-made cookies (thanks to their wives) and visited older members on the front porch at a safe distance and had a prayer with each family.

5. Face time or skype individual families.

6. Develop a small group on Marco-Polo to communicate with each other.

7. Depending on the state and community where you live and the COVID-19 situation, create a social group you feel comfortable with in getting together in each other’s homes.

8. With the above caveat, resume meeting others for a meal, coffee, or dessert at a local restaurant.

9. Have your children write notes and/or draw pictures to mail to older and shut-in members.

10. Run errands for those unable or uncomfortable with going out.

Please add your own suggestion in the comment section below of something you’re doing in your church family to stay connected.

Most of all each of us need to stay connected with our Heavenly Father through prayer and Bible study.

“Encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing” (1 Thess. 5:11).

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman

14 Comments

Filed under COVID-19

14 responses to “Staying Connected When We’re Apart

  1. Peggy Hobbs

    Great words of encouragement! We all need the fellowship and oneness of being together and sharing a common goal. Our brothers and sisters in Christ are the glue that holds us together in difficult times. Thanks for your blog that starts my day.

  2. Shirley J Robinson

    Our congregation uses Zoom for Sunday and Wednesday Bible studies.

  3. Beautiful post. Virtual service is not bringing the same experience as normal service. That unity and togetherness in worship is missing. Blessings✨

  4. Jefferson Tant

    Thanks for your post Ken. As to the Broadmoor church here in Nashville, the 200 or so attendees are divided up into groups of 40-50 and they meet in the yards and under shade trees of various members. People bring their own yard chairs, and bring their own communion elements . Songs and a sermon are part of the gathering. It’s a bit different, but in a way it’s a good experience to meet out in the open under the sky and the wonder’s of God’s creation all about us. — David

    • Thanks David. What a neat idea that harkens back to the old days of worshiping under a brush arbor

      • Jefferson Tant

        And another point about having our worship in member’s yards is that we are worshiping our Creator under the expanse of heavens He has created as we see His work all around us.

  5. Mark Roberts

    We have done a lot here at Westside – including virtual VBS for our kids, online Bible class on Wednesdays, a really cool “drive by parade” for our shut-ins where a long line of cars drove by shut-in folks while they sat on the porch or yard and waved, some ladies organized “The Sunshine Girls” who put together and deliver a bag of goodies to folks (safely) just to cheer them up, there is organized calling being done to keep up w/ folks and we have a weekly Zoom meeting just to pray, read the Bible together, and chat some – all to give folks some “face time” with each other.

  6. Sabrina Lester

    Great article! Several of us young Christians have been having Zoom game nights and movie nights to keep in touch.

  7. Pingback: Weekly Recap: July 26-31 | ThePreachersWord

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