I’m tired. And I’m guessing you are too. I’m tired of the Zoom calls, tired of being stuck in my house, tired of the online church services, and definitely tired of wearing a mask almost everywhere I go. What we expected would be a few short weeks of closures has morphed into months of limitations, with potential for much more to come. Zoom fatigue is a real thing. What’s more, a Barna Group study from May reports that a third of church attenders (50%+ among younger demographics) have stopped online attendance at their church all together. And it’s probably gotten worse since then.
It’s not because online church is bad. It’s because it’s not enough.
The truth is we need each other. We need community, the connection of heart and spirit that encourages us, inspires us, and reminds us we aren’t alone on this journey of faith. That’s why the Scriptures say, “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” (Hebrews 10:25)
Yet those who would clamor for open buildings forget that church buildings were rarely, if ever, used when Hebrews was written. Meetings happened in homes. Over meals. In small groups.
As we transition from the “adrenaline rush” of rapid change to the slow burn of sustained adaptation, it’s more important than ever that we connect for encouragement. Not necessarily in a building for a service. Instead, connecting in smaller groups. Sharing the journey. Encouraging each other in faith.
What does that look like?
• Many restaurants are open for sit-down now. Go out to eat with someone you haven’t seen in a while.
• Invite a family over to your home for a meal. Watch an episode of “The Chosen” and talk about Jesus.
• Drop off a loaf of bread for a church member who has been left behind by this digital revolution.
• Make a phone call to a friend or church acquaintance who hasn’t been out much throughout the pandemic.
...Or a hundred other COVID-safe ways to make meaningful connections.
Listen. Invest. Connect. Minister. Journey.
As we get closer to the return of Jesus, buildings will come and go. They’ll open and close. But, by choosing community, the Church — the people of God — can remain open and stronger than ever.