Right now, when we’re being asked to stay in our homes to love others well, it can be more difficult than usual to create and maintain true community. We also know that we live in a time when it is easier than ever to maintain connection, even over distances.
We need each other, to encourage, to love, to challenge, and to sharpen. The Bible is full of “one another” verses. While community is meant to be in real life, face to face, hand in hand, we need to maintain our connection from a distance temporarily.
None of these ways to practice community are meant to be full time, from now on, ways of practicing. Yes, God can use them to bond you closer together with friends you may not have met otherwise. Praise Him for creatively working even in the midst of a pandemic like coronavirus! However, once we are able to safely (for ourselves and others) return to meeting face to face and serving hand in hand, we should be ready to do so.
We hope these ideas will simply help you through until we can meet again.
Ways to Practice Community from a Distance:
- Call or FaceTime with a friend. This works with kids, too! Have them FaceTime their friends (with parents’ permission) and play a game together or read books aloud.
- Start a group text with encouraging Scripture.
- Set a time to join together in prayer from your respective locations. Live in a neighborhood? Invite your neighbors to come to the end of their driveway at a set time and pray together while maintaining a safe distance.
- Be creative in how you interact with each other—you can have a drive-up friend date! Bring your own coffee and sit in your cars a space apart at a park while you catch up on life.
- Think of ways to serve your neighbors that don’t require you to be in physical proximity, like dropping off groceries.
- Become digital pen pals. Send long form emails once a day to each other. Start one of those old timey (from the early 2000s) email chains! You might find that you learn even more about one another than you would have in person.
- Since more people are strolling around your neighborhood (getting in their daily recommended walk!), consider putting your children’s art or encouraging Bible verses in the windows of your home to cheer everyone along.
Tips for Virtual Groups:
During this time, we are getting creative with how our groups meet! You can still do Bible study, small group, or have a chat with friends—through the internet. It’s not the same, we know, but it is helpful in the meantime. Here are a few ways to stay connected with our groups:
- Make a FB Group for discussion
- Use free video services like Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Skype.
- Take advantage of Instagram TV Live or Facebook Live
- Join an Online Bible Study
No matter how you are staying connected we pray the Lord leads you to find community and joy wherever you are.
This is a time when we can all extend a little extra grace to one another, especially during video meetings and chats. We all remember the challenges this poor dad faced when his children interrupted his video call with an international news outlet.