January 7 – Getting Together

“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Romans 1:12 NLT

If there’s one major thing that this pandemic has drummed into my mind and heart, it’s the importance of getting together with friends and family, of being able to be with my church family, even getting together with my neighbours. I am on the introverted side, but even I find this social isolation very difficult. Once vaccines are widely distributed, life may seem more normal, but that is still months away. What do we do in the meantime? Stay alone?

Today, I want you to start thinking about how to start a small group where you can encourage each other in your faith and life. NO – I don’t mean to ignore the guidelines set by our medical and political leaders. But there are ways, if we start being creative enough, to connect with others. We can use Zoom, Facebook’s Messenger chat room, Google Meet, etc. Once LSA is open to the public again, we can reserve classroom space to meet in small numbers that allow us to distance. Once the warm weather begins, outside get-togethers will work. The Apostle Paul said meeting and encouraging one another was important as he wrote to the Christians from Rome.

“Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” Hebrews 10: 24 – 25 NLT

The author of Hebrew’s fear is that Christians will neglect connecting, and that they will allow that distance to cool their love for God. God knows we need each other. God is a Trinity of three; even God is not a ‘solo’ being. He created us in his image, to need him and each other. So how can we connect during a pandemic?

First of all, just what is a small group? It’s a group of people who enjoy each other’s company, and who study the Bible, or a book written on some faith topic, together. They take time to pray for one another, and when tough times crop up, they help each other out. Small groups have been the major encouraging influence in my life over many years. I started to realize how much they meant to me while I was in university and belonged to a small group then. Ever since, I’ve looked for, or started, small groups because they’ve been my lifeline.

Who leads a group like that? One of the group members may take a leadership role, or the group may divide up the various responsibilities. One can make sure group members know what is happening. One may host the group on Zoom (or whatever method) in their home. One might lead the study, or leading the discussion might be switched up among the members. You can be creative in those areas and rotate the various leadership responsibilities. But somebody has to take the initiative to get started – to ask their friends if they’d like to join in a small group. Is God prompting you to be that person?

Who do you ask to join the group? It could be friends you’ve had over the years. You could start thinking about people you’ve met at LSA (or even in your neighbourhood) who you’ve thought might be good to get to know better. What about people in your area of the city or county who you know attend LSA – they could be people of any age group, married or single. Start thinking and praying.

What do you study? Again, usually the group decides what they want. What you want is to encourage each other in your faith and how you apply your faith to your everyday life. So that guides your choices as a group. Or if you are the initiator, you may want to suggest the first study yourself, and get the group’s input later. Look for something you think would go over in the group you’ve gathered.

LSA provides an amazing resource in RightNow Media. You can access it on your own computer. Many of the studies come with their own questions and guidelines for the leader. If you don’t already have access to this resource, contact Dave Francis at LSA (dfrancis@lsachurch.net), and he will get you set up for free. There are so many exciting studies available in that resource – even ones to help you cope in a pandemic. Get that resource and start looking. When you’ve chosen a study, ask your group members to look at the session on their own before you meet, and then talk about it in your online meeting.

Let’s get creative and figure out a way to be connected in a meaningful way. So many people are feeling isolated and frustrated these days. They are more likely to say ‘yes’ to someone who contacts them and asks if they’d like to be part of a group that encourages one another.

Think! Pray! Don’t ignore God’s promptings!

“When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours.” Romans 1:12 NLT

Take that challenge!!!!!

Our song for today is Made to Worship by Chris Tomlin

2 Replies to “January 7 – Getting Together”

  1. Thanks to Diane Milec about 20 years ago encouraged me to start a group in my house because of shift work. We are still meeting. There are 9 women from 6 different churches,. we have done it in my home, in the yard, on zoom & presently in my church. We all agree we need community. This sisterhood will not break up, God willing. Don’t let the world stop you especially during these perilous times.

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