What started as not too begrudgingly watching church in our pajamas with a hot cup of coffee has now lost its appeal. Many of us are ready to be back in the community! As the weather cools across much of the nation and churches remain under government regulations based on what the state will allow, many still find themselves streaming their church service from the comfort of their home.
If churches have held outdoor services, how will that look once snow is on the ground?
With so many unknowns many have turned up the dial a bit on how they church at home. Have you? As believers we’ve had to get creative and create our own home church gatherings if the big church isn’t able to meet as it did before the pandemic struck.
While we’ve had the privilege of attending some outdoor services at our church, we’ve also enjoyed smaller gatherings in our home studying the Bible with other believers. Those moments in particular have been so refreshing and good for everyone involved, even the kids who happily play! Kids get to be kids again and as parents we can turn off our anxieties and concerns for a few hours every other week.
If you haven’t been a part of a smaller home church gathering and would like to start one, I’d encourage you to do so! You may find that your church already has a plan for small groups and starting there is a great place. If that’s not the case, you can gather friends to discuss a sermon or go through a Bible study together. Right now Lifeway is sharing several study videos for free on their website!
We have a natural tug to be together. Let’s not forget that in 1 Corinthians 12 we’re reminded we all have different gifts and we were made to live them out together. Isolation isn’t God’s design for us so let’s find ways to be together!
There are a few things I’ve learned between hosting and also co-hosting groups during this unique season. Learn from me and don’t make any rookie mistakes!
- Set clear expectations ahead of time! Will you be limiting the number of people who are able to attend? Will there be food? How will seating be arranged? Don’t let people guess what the gathering will look like, just tell them all the details up front!
- If kids are present at the gathering, explain if you’ll have childcare or not. Will you decide to have a special church craft for the kids, or is the focus more on adults getting time to study the Bible? You can find a lot of great printables for kids or ask your church if they can provide what they would have been giving to the children’s ministry during this time. Sites like Etsy and Teachers Pay Teachers have lots of shops with great prints that you can download for only a few dollars to help keep the littles ones occupied! If the kids are past the age of crafts, let them watch Right Now Media or some videos from The Bible Project.
- Gather around service. Come together around the word but also come together to serve. Find out which local outreach needs your help and how you can do that from afar. Like all of us, organizations have gotten creative and some may have ideas for how you can still serve together.
- Set a calendar and stick to it. Decide if you’ll meet weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. People want to know if the community you’re creating is something they can depend on regularly. Will there be a virtual option for them to still stay plugged in if they become sick or will your meetings all remain in person?
The main thing I want you to hear is this: get together. We were not made to live alone. God created us for a relationship with Him and relationships with one another. If you haven’t yet, seek some out. If you’re able to host, now you’ve got some ideas so start gathering!