The importance of meeting together even if it is online!
“Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.” Hebrews 10: 24-25 The Message
The move online
I was fascinated how, when churches decided we could not meet together physically, and moved to online gatherings, that a very small number of Christians used the verses I am quoting here as a reproof to church leaders for making this decision. Personally I think they were wrong, as the main reason the writer was saying this was to address the importance of believers staying connected to their local church body, not to address an issue that they, and until recently we, could not have conceived of.
However these verses do have a lot to say to us about the importance of making every effort to engage together in our online gatherings, even if we do find them these than ideal.
I have to be honest, at times I do struggle with what we have now. I particularly struggle with not being able to worship together. But this is much better than not doing anything, and for now I would suggest we need to enjoy and be thankful for what we do have; it could be a lot worse.
Homegroup online is not always easy. It’s much harder to have a proper conversation, having to take turns to speak, so that we can hear each other properly. It can be very frustrating! Getting the technology to work sometimes is challenging and difficult, even for people like me, who are used to technology. It is so much easier to pick up on where people are at when we are physically together, than when we are on a screen, and in different locations.
But the reasons why we should make the effort to meet together are still the same as when the writer to the Hebrews wrote this encouragement, because at times like these, we will have moments when we feel low or isolated, when it all feels too much for us. And still when this happens, one of the best ways that God helps us to get through this, is through the encouragement of other believers who spur us on in trusting God and not giving up. And frankly it is very hard to receive this support and encouragement unless you are regularly in contact with other believers. Which really is only going to be online during the current crisis.
And just as important, how are we going to take the responsibility we each have to encourage and spur on other people in our church family, unless we are regularly meeting up with them, which at the moment will be online?
As I finish this blog, I would like to end with saying how encouraged I have been, hearing from our homegroup leaders, that the attendance and engagement in our groups is better than it was before the crisis, and share with you my hope that this continues whenever we go back to “normal”, and can gather together in person again.
I know meeting together online is not ideal and can be frustrating, but please keep engaging as you are, so that we continue to be a thriving church family.
God bless you all, Neil