Connected While Apart
During this time of social distancing and the COVID-19 Pandemic, we are feeling the need for community more than ever. We miss the encouragement of gathering together to worship and serving side by side with friends. It seems like it’s been forever since we’ve had people in our home to share a meal and talk. It is so evident that the Lord designed humans to live in community with others.
The Church is learning new ways to foster community by having worship experiences online or Bible studies with small groups via video chats. These things are feeding my soul, but I also long for more personal connections. Some people in your church, organization, or family are naturally good at connecting with others, while some need help. How can you provide opportunities for people in your “group” to connect while they are apart?
We have an idea!
Build community within your group through an encouragement exchange. Ask people to commit to reaching out to one person a week. Someone will have their name and number and reach out to them during that week, as well. At a minimum each person who chooses to participate will have at least two conversations that are loaded with the potential to encourage and build each other up during this time!
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.1 Thessalonians 5:11
Our family has done this with the Sunday morning class we are a part of, and we chose to have men contact men and women contact women. We also used this with the moms and their children who are a part of our homeschool co-op. This could be used to connect extended families, as well.
Here is how it works:
I am the moderator for the group. I emailed everyone in the group and asked if they wanted to participate. By participating they are committing to contacting the person who’s name they receive at least once during the upcoming week via phone or text. Each week they will be given a new name. Our group decided to do this for the next four weeks.
As moderator, I took all of the names and phone numbers and put them in a list. This list helped me determine who would be contacting who within the group. The first week each person would contact the name below their name. The second week, they would contact the person’s name that is listed two below their name, and so on.
The part that took a little bit of time each week was I texted each person and sent them the name and phone number of who they’d be contacting for the upcoming week. Sure, I could have just emailed the list to my whole group and explained how to use the list, but I wanted it to be more of a surprise. I think it is fun to get an unexpected text or call. It’s different than sitting expectantly, knowing “Sue” has my name and wondering why she hasn’t yet contacted me!
Click to download these graphics and share them with your group.
Why this works:
When we build each other up, we are encouraged ourselves. When we pray for others, we are drawn closer to God. When we pursue others, we feel more connected. When we value others with our time and attention, they are drawn into community.
May the groups you are a part of grow closer together and feel connected even while you are apart.
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