One of the things that the pandemic has highlighted, amongst many things, is that we are created to be social creatures – spending too much time in isolation is not healthy.
At St Andrew’s we are committed to the diverse community God has made in Christ. We see that most powerfully on Sundays, as people from different cultures, languages and nations gather. However, although Sundays are a powerful reminder of God’s grace, it can be hard to connect at a deeper level. Ironically, if we fail to make these deeper connections it is possible to feel lonely, vulnerable, and isolated even when we are surrounded by other Christians.
That’s why Growth Groups are so important. Growth Groups are smaller groups of typically 10-15 people who meet regularly to study the Bible, share fellowship, and pray together. They are a place to build these deeper connections, care practically for each other, and encourage each other in our relationship with Jesus. We’d love everyone who considers St Andrew’s their spiritual home to join a group – simply sign up online for Partnership, a short introductory course.
However, although COVID underlines our need for community, it also creates new challenges. Many groups have switched to meeting online, but it can be frustrating because there is something which is lost in a virtual meeting –after all, the Lord designed us to be embodied.
Nevertheless, it is important for us to persevere finding creative ways to connect. As the author to the Hebrews says: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:24-25).
Although we might be tempted to “push pause” on connecting during this unusual time, it is essential that we persevere, even if it is online. We have a responsibility both to the Lord, to obey his command to keep meeting, but also to each other, because we need the mutual encouragement.
It’s often said that the Christian life is like a bicycle – to avoid falling it’s vital to keep going forward. To keep growing as Christians during this difficult time, we need to persevere at maintaining our spiritual disciplines, despite the struggles involved.