Connecting and Caring From a Distance
If I can clue you all into something I’ve learned during our recent circumstances, it would be this:
Church is the PEOPLE and not the building!
People matter. Relationships matter. Connection is key.
I recently heard that “A frightened world needs a fearless church.” Oh how this resonated! Regardless of what it is keeping us apart from group worship, there is no limit to the creative ways to care, connect and serve at a distance. Often when we’re called to serve outside the normal circumstances, we are given a front row seat to how God is using the situation as part of his bigger plan. Even if the circumstances don’t make sense in the present, trust that His plan will make perfect sense in the future.
Here are some things we do as a church to stay connected and care for others when we cannot gather as a group:
- A care team to assist in preparing and delivering meals, groceries, and medications to vulnerable members of congregation, and making calls to assess emotional and physical needs.
- Transition of small groups onto virtual platforms so that they can continue to meet.
- Donations of food and supplies to various local organizations that we partner with.
- Development of short-term Bible study groups.
- Weekly student small groups and virtual gatherings to keep our youth connected
- Articles and videos (like Daily Joe) to encourage and help you grow.
- Church at Home (Livestream)
Here are some ways you can take this initiative and personally stay connected and care for others when the church cannot meet:
- Set up video chats with friends, family, and neighbors. Take time to truly listen and focus on what somewhat else had to say.
- Send cards of encouragement. Encouragement is a gift that costs us nothing. If you need inspiration, tell the recipient why you miss them or what you are praying for them.
- Keep tithing. While the church may have to eliminate group worship, they still count on your giving. Remote times can be a huge strain on church budgets and your unwavering commitment can make a big difference.
- Support local businesses. So many businesses are locally owned by people who are in need and greatly encouraged by the support. Whenever possible, try to utilize these small businesses as a way to demonstrate the love of the community and keep hourly people employed.
- Pray without ceasing. This is an opportunity to go on Christ’s offensive and release the power of prayer. Keep a visible list of prayer requests and spend time asking God to protect those who need Him most.
And remember that a positive gesture and encouraging word can have a great impact in uncertain times. There are countless ways to show love and kindness to even those we don’t know.
- Paint rocks with encouraging messages and leave them on walks for others to see and find, or decorate the sidewalk with similar messages in chalk.
- Use social media platforms to give appreciation to our local heroes – doctors, nurses, teachers, custodians. Encourage others to thank these people for their tireless efforts.
- Be patient and courteous. While grocery shopping has become even more stressful, it’s important to still smile (even from behind a mask), hold the door open, let someone with fewer items check out ahead of you, or offer to return a cart in the parking lot. These small acts can brighten an entire day.
- If you see something that needs done, and you can do it, do it. Pass empty recycling bins still on the curb? Drag them to the top of the driveway. If you pass a parking meter about to expire, stick in a quarter.
COVID-19 isn’t selective. The entire world is under the same attack and we have all been impacted. This is leveling the playing ground like never before. Unity is being created. People are helping people. It is inspiring to be a witness to all the ways God is moving! We’d love to hear your stories of how you’ve seen God at work in this pandemic and ways you are connecting and caring for others during these COVID-19 days.
Above all, let us encourage each other in Jesus, love one another, and keep our eyes on Him so that we may walk with Him and His peace in this time of storm.
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