Saturday mornings have been reserved for Life Group for 3 years now. Prior to Covid, we met at the coffee shop, gave heartfelt hugs, shared Biblical truths being revealed to us by the Holy Spirit, prayed for hard seasons, and enjoyed being together. It has been a pleasure to facilitate this group of women whom I’ve grown to love so dearly – ladies from all age ranges and walks of life. Their devotion to Jesus and desire to serve Him is deeply inspiring.
So when Covid-19 landed and things had to shift, it was hard. I missed Sunday morning church services but just as much or more, missed my physical interactions with these ladies. We didn’t let it stop us from meeting though. Those who didn’t know how to use Zoom graciously learned, even though it was difficult for some, and we continued our conversations around our study of Ruth every Saturday until we were finished. Even when we would have been taking a break over the summer, we decided to go ahead and do a book study on the Holy Spirit together, extending our meetings and accountability into the summer months. We knew how important it was to stay connected during this season.
I’m so thankful we were able to shift to virtual meetings but it still doesn’t completely replace the in-person experience. It’s what we (mostly) have right now, so we must learn to adjust and continue our growth despite the challenges ahead.
As we continue to face this battle and see that quite possibly, we could be in this for longer than we thought originally, I’ve learned a few things that I would like to share with you. These are just a few ideas of ways to stay connected to the church during this season.
- Find or join a virtual life group.
“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25
Whether that be through your church or a group that you put together with mutual friends, being intentional about spending time together is crucial. Study a book of the Bible together or do a Bible-based book study – anything to encourage accountability. I have learned however, that because of the less intimate settings, it is more difficult to feel like you truly belong. The technology keeps us from being able to share as much and you may not feel as if your voice is important. Because of this, remember to show grace to others and understand the limitations but also…
- Connect with a mentor.
“A wise man will hear and increase in learning. And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.” Proverbs 1:5
I’ve been praying for years to find an older lady with whom I can have consistent conversations and study with as I learn. Last year, the Holy Spirit led a precious lady to join our life group. She quickly became someone we all looked up to and has since become my mentor. When our life group finally did take the break we normally have, I asked her to continue meeting with me and do a 1:1 study together. I cannot explain how important and treasured this time with her has been and I thank God for this gift. If you cannot find a group to join, find one person with whom you can meet weekly and study something together. This accountability helps me to stay focused and on track as I walk daily with Jesus, study, and pray. In virtual-land, it’s also nice to have more time to audibly process learning and discuss and pray about more specific life situations.
- Find someone you can disciple.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-10
Early this year, I had the privilege of helping one of my life group members take the first step in surrendering to Jesus and following Him. It was such a sweet moment. But I was quickly reminded of what God had been teaching me about discipleship through the Great Commission. The first step is wonderful but what was I going to do to help her grow in Christ? Through that experience, I found a strong discipleship curriculum, pulled in another lady from our church, set up weekly meetings, and we started working through what it means to follow Jesus. We have finished our first 13 weeks of a full 52 week curriculum and it’s been so rewarding! I have seen passion for Jesus that has re-ignited my own passion and have loved being able to walk beside these two girls as they fall deeper in love with Him.
If you aren’t finding a group or a mentor, start one! Get a few like minded friends together and decide what to study. Hold each other accountable. You don’t have to be a teacher or even a natural leader to do this. You only have to be willing.
This season is hard. It’s hard to stay connected to our church family. It’s hard to keep our relationship with the Lord strong and active. But I’ve learned that in the hard seasons, God reveals our weaknesses. And if we’re listening and willing to follow Him, He can use this as a way to not just keep us steady in relationship with Him but to help us grow and thrive.
I know there are other great ways to stay connected – what are you actively doing during this season to keep your relationship with God and others strong?