Currently, our assumption is that we will go through this season of the coronavirus (COVID-19) for a few weeks, and then we will return to business as usual with our church and our groups. That may be the case practically, but we cannot ignore how it is affecting each of us as individuals and a society.
The current crisis has the potential to impact our groups as people are going to get out of the habit of attending the group and the group’s routine. We do not know fully what things will be like on the other side of this, but we do know some things that do not and will not change.
Consider Hebrews 12. In this chapter, the author gives us the analogy of a race in explaining the need for believers to endure. The Christian life is a race. The race did not get called off because of this coronavirus. The race is more important than ever. How we run this race is essential to our own spiritual health and the health of our groups. So how do we now run the race in light of our circumstances?
Allan Taylor, formerly with Lifeway, shares three essentials that we need to practice well in our groups. Let’s look at these in light of where we are in this race today. Let’s consider what we can and cannot do during these times.
Reaching in light of the coronavirus
We cannot visit with others in the venues in which we were used to meeting. Many of us are not going to work or school. We are not having events that would bring the lost to our church buildings. Therefore, that puts us in new situations where we are around people who need salvation or the reassurance Christ gives as we rely on Him.
How can we reach out to those in our spheres of influence? Post messages of hope on social media. Seek to meet neighbors in a different way. Invite them to be a part of an online experience with our group. Discover and meet people’s needs as best we can during these times. Call, text, post, and pray for others that need Christ.
Teaching through the coronavirus
Since we cannot sit in a classroom at the church or in a living room with our group, we are not able to teach by the methods and means with which we are accustomed. We are not sensing the accountability that we have when we meet in person.
As a consequence, we can discover and implement the use of a variety of online methods to lead our groups. Study guides, materials, and books can be provided to our groups electronically. We can and should teach people how to walk with Christ in their times of struggle. As we learn new technologies together, we can have more and better conversations with our groups. Experimenting with new teaching styles that we have not tried before is another possibility.
Ministry because of and around the coronavirus
Usually, we minister to our groups as we hear of their needs from our traditional group setting. We cannot do this now. We are not able to visit hospitals, attend funerals, participate in weddings, worship together, meet at work, visit in the community, or hang out with each other.
Hence, we can review our ministry list and make sure our contact information is updated. Develop a continuous process of connecting with everyone on our ministry list. Share ministry needs with the group, so each can pray over them and act upon them in creative ways. Encourage group members to share testimonies and ideas with each other about personal and family experiences while we are social distancing.
As your group comes out on the other side of this pandemic, it will be a better group with better practices of reaching, teaching, and ministering to other group members and those around them. This season is changing our groups. It is up to us as leaders to lead change with needed adjustments as we run this race that is set before us. Seek to be a great group that reaches and disciples people.
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Published March 24, 2020