The Gift of Intentional Gathering

by | Jan 26, 2022

Sitting on my couch with a warm cup of coffee in my hand, no makeup, sloppy ponytail (not even a trendy messy bun), fluffy dog on my lap and still in my pajamas. This is how I did church for over a year. 

After ten years of serving as a pastor at our church and working every Sunday, when Covid hit (and I happened to leave the church staff at around the same time) it was nice to have Sundays off. It felt like a vacation and I enjoyed it.  

The more time that passed though, the more I felt like something was missing from my life. I wasn’t missing the “ministry” part of being a pastor, because that was still my job the other six days of the week.

Something else was absent– something my heart longed for. 

I came to realize that isolation was taking a toll on my soul. It was too easy to sleep in and catch the service online during the week, but it just wasn’t the same. I missed being in the room with other believers, worshipping our amazing God with reckless abandon. I missed seeing hands raised and hearts surrendered. There is nothing like the Body of Christ gathered to worship, pray, read the Word of God, and learn together.

We can arrive as strangers, but we leave the room with a spiritual connection that is powerful. 

I am all for online church–praise God for it, especially during Covid. There is a place online to share the gospel. Everyone is online while not everyone is in a church. I am SO thankful for technology and I believe it holds a powerful space for the Church.

But, I also want to remind us of the importance of meeting together. In person, we can truly connect. Share a hug. Feel the love and caring. Replenish our spirits. Let’s not forget how uplifting it is when you feel totally alone in your struggle but you take the courageous step to open up to someone and they say, “me too”. Eye-to-eye, in a safe space. At church we can socialize, support and encourage one another, create a sense of family and belong. 

One of the most important factors in healing from our past, stepping into our potential, and living a vibrant relationship with Jesus is being with other believers. Iron always sharpens iron.

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

As of January 2022, some churches in Canada are still not allowed to meet with more than five people at a time. I came across a social media post from a woman there who was desperate to worship with other believers. It grieved my heart to know that she was forbidden to attend worship, while I, for a while, treated attending church as an option, rather than a need, on Sunday mornings. 

I know some of us are still under restrictions or have health concerns that dictate staying at home. Our prayers are with you; you are not alone. 

My heart in writing this article is to encourage those who can attend church in person, but haven’t yet made it a priority, to find our way back to the building. Gallup shared that for the first time ever, church membership has dropped below 50% nationally.

For those of us who have the freedom to worship together, let’s take advantage of that gift. 

If you can relate to my sloppy ponytail and fluffy puppy in my lap, I want to encourage you to remember what it felt like to sit with a friend or prayer partner, what it sounds like to hear the pages of Bibles or journals turning. The roar of the crowd when a new creation emerges from the water, or a heart desperate for Jesus raises their hand to make Him Lord of their life. 

Let’s be intentional about our gathering friends. We need it, our families need it, our churches need it, and our world needs the Hope that we carry. Let’s gather that Hope together!

Whatever your need, you are not alone. You can always email us at connect@reclaimedstory.com 

Intentionally Being Together,

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2 Comments

    • denisha

      Better than it was that is for sure. Our mask mandate in AZ is lifted.

      Reply

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