4 Ways to Stay Connected to Community Right Now
My husband and I moved to a new town almost 5 years ago when I accepted a job at DaySpring. One thing that God put on my heart when we moved was that we needed to get connected with a church, something we hadn’t been too involved in previously, nor had we ever been part of a small group. After checking out a couple of churches, we fell in love with our home church that we have been attending for almost 4 years now.
In that time, God has revealed to me how much He has created us for community, knowing full well how much we would need each other. Hebrews 10:24-25 says ‘And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as in the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you can see the Day drawing near.’ This is one of my favorite Scriptures, one that spoke to us and pushed our family out of our comfort zone and into deeper relationships with others.
Once we had been at church for a few months, we were asked to join a small group at our Pastor’s home. We have been a part of this small group now for well over 3 years, not knowing how much impact this community would have on our lives. We pray together and for each other, we encourage each other, we lean into each other during hard times and this group of people has become some of our best friends.
At the beginning of 2019, my husband and I decided to step out of our comfort zone and start leading another small group in our home. It was a little bit of a scary step to take, but God was very clear when He put it on my heart that it was time to step out. Even though we decided to lead a group at our home, we still continue going to the other group too. We didn’t realize how much we craved community until we had so much of it. We thrive in this environment, connecting with each other, bearing each other’s burdens and just living life with each other.
We have been meeting for well over a year now and we LOVE our new group too! We enjoy getting together, doing Bible studies and pointing each other back to Jesus, praying for each other and just appreciating each other’s company. But, then we went into isolation several weeks ago due to the COVID-19 virus and it’s been difficult. We miss seeing each other, miss the connection and it’s only been 3 weeks! But, thankfully technology allows us to still stay connected with each other and here are a few ways we are doing so… hopefully this helps give you an idea of how to stay connected with friends, family and your community too:
Facebook Messenger – we have a group chat that all of our members are in and we LOVE the video feature on there! It’s a way for us to see each other and ‘virtually hang out’ together. We do have members who share encouragement in our group message too, whether that is through a picture of their devotion for that morning or an article to read, so it’s a great way to stay connected since we are all on Facebook.
Zoom - this is a great service to connect virtually too, its original intent was for business meetings with anyone that has an internet connection. It’s free to sign-up for an account, as long as your meeting/call is less than 45 minutes at a time. If you want/need more time than that, you’re able to pay for unlimited time on calls. Our small group used this for the first time last night and it worked really well for us.
The YouVersion App – most of our small group members are on YouVersion and we are able to devotion plans together. It’s an easy and fun way to connect each day. All you have to do is add each other as friends on the app, then start ANY of the thousands of devotions of your choice and choose which friends you’d like to do the study with. The chat feature on each day allows you to share your thoughts on the devotion as well as pray with and for each other too. Faith Over Fear is a great one to start with!
Ecards– This is such an easy way to quickly share encouragement with those in my small group –all I have to do is enter their email and share a short message or I can simply download the image and share with them through Facebook Messenger or text. I love being able to share Scripture or inspirational messages in a quick way when God puts people on my heart.
In Matthew 19:20, Jesus says ‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.’ Even though we can’t physically be together, technology has given us SO many ways to connect, to pray together, to encourage one another. We are called to encourage one another and shine the light of Jesus, I pray you are able to stay connected in your relationships, and that you can think of even more creative ways to connect right now.