“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” (NIV).
A few days before my wedding, like almost every other man who is about to get married, I had my bachelor’s party. I can be quite introverted, so the thought of going out with multiple people at once to “party” sounded quite frightening to me. I can often struggle with such things and find myself making excuses all the time as to why I can’t make it to a particular engagement. But this situation was quite different. It was my very own bachelor party. If I wasn’t there, I could assume it would be one heck of an awkward party. So I did a lot of self-talk, put on my big boy pants and convinced myself that despite my hesitations I would have a good time. To my surprise, the joy that came out of that night far exceeded all of the self-talk.
You see, there were a few people who came that are very dear to me, but I had done a terrible job of keeping up with. Despite my being an awful friend, like magic, it felt like not a day had passed since the heyday of our friendship. It was a night where I allowed myself to slow down and take the time to invest in some relationships that while extremely important to me, had gotten lost underneath the weight of the every day.
Do you have relationships like that in your life? People who are very important to you but you never find yourself with the time to connect? Do you also find this true of your relationship with you brothers and sisters in Christ? Now that a lot of our church doors are closed and we must social distance, have we lost touch with our small groups?
It’s understandable. The events of 2020 have taken us all by surprise. While forced to social-distance for so long we may be hesitant to start meeting in person for fear of health and safety. What is so encouraging is the wealth of options that we have in our current day and age. Zoom (as well a million other video conferencing apps) are available on any device. From your living room off of your cell phone you can meet with your small group. I can’t stress enough how important continuing our meetings is despite our circumstances. And the options available to us honestly leave us with little excuse not to engage. I honestly feel convicted about this because I find myself without a small group and that needs to change. If your church’s small groups have ceased to function, reach out to fellow believers that you know and start a group. That is my plan. An amazing advantage of virtual small groups is that we need not be separated by distance. We can meet and worship with one another no matter where we may be in the world.
This is an opportunity where we can reconnect with early traditions of the church. In times past the church often found itself without a building and only met in homes in small groups. The church not only thrived but was actually built in this way. I believe that from the ashes of the pandemic the church can thrive and rise again even stronger by having a renewed passion for meeting in small groups, sharing the Gospel with one another, and investing in our relationships with each other in the midst of hardship.
I encourage you church, don’t give up on meeting together. Let’s encourage one another in the faith. We can be witnesses to each other and to a world in crisis, all for the sake of God’s Kingdom.