We started as old and new friends for a Saturday morning book club at a coffee shop. We read and discussed the first chapter of the first book and then decided it was more interesting to catch up on our lives. What is discussed at the coffee shop, stays at the coffee shop, so I can’t share any details but suffice it to say there’s deep trust and commitment among these ladies, as well as heartache and joy. For many years we met, if not weekly, at least regularly. And then came COVID and out-of-state moves for two of the six.
Praise Jesus for Zoom! It doesn’t feel as intimate (because it isn’t) and it feels just a little awkward (because it is), but it’s been a great temporary option. We all have good, healthy relationships outside the Coffee Ladies, but there’s something special about these conversations that would have been lost if we had paused our gatherings. I didn’t realize how much I missed being in the same room with these humans until we recently gathered for dinner--all vaxxed and on a screen porch. It felt gloriously wonderful yet also not quite the same. We were out of practice of being together.
Relationships and community require care and feeding. Congregations all over the world are facing this same challenge—of starting to gather again in person (or soon!). And we are out of practice. We’ve been Zooming, doing the masked-and-distanced thing, and lots of other creative solutions. But we must admit, it’s been a strange and awkward year, and it’s time to rekindle relationships.
GenOn can help your congregation ease back into Christ-centered community. The summer is a perfect opportunity to try new things and be a little less formal outdoors; to schedule time together in intentional relationship with people of all ages. Go on hikes and look at clouds while talking about God’s wonderful creation (God’s World in Community). Set up tables in the parking lot and study, play, snack, and pray together (LIFT-Living in Faith Together). Plan intergenerational gatherings outside for Vacation Bible School or any summer all-church event (All God’s Children Summer or VBS). Pilot a to-be-launched LOGOS ministry with a session or two from LOGOS 4x4 or hold a get-together to reconnect folks after many years of LOGOS.
Summer is also a good time to consider the convenience of online training or conversations with us. We can schedule these during your regular leader gatherings, or your Sunday class time. All these ideas and more will help fan the flame of Christian community as we return to closeness. We love your calls and emails to discuss your specific context and needs. Let’s name the newness of coming back together and seek ways to rekindle relationships well.