Sabbath afternoon, I was sitting in Church with ten other people in a “pop-up pastor question time”. Good weather trumps any inside activity. I am the 11th person seated, guilted to support, and make up the numbers whilst fighting my human nature’s desire to join the rest of the nation, sunbathing in the park. I was late to the discussion, reluctantly entering at 50 minutes into the hour, with all hope that the session was starting to wind down. Pastor himself had both eyes on the clock. I was completely reassured. But the speed at which the questions flew forward picked up its pace in the remaining 10-minute countdown. The questions felt random but personal at the same time.
The Common Issue:
One member talked about the Church, Church people and their past hurt. Nothing new, except this time, the response was a fresh perspective for me. The pastor said the Church is a great place for personal growth and character development. There is no other place where you can go to meet such different characters, personalities, and perspectives. When we come together and rub shoulders with each other and interact, we learn how to worship and serve God together and get along with different types of people. We are learning how to navigate conflicts, how to appreciate different perspectives, and how to love and support those you might naturally avoid. We learn as a body of people how to build each other up and work together towards the kingdom. Then he asked an interesting question: how does online Church build your character and/or contribute to your personal development?
The Game Changer:
At the beginning of lockdown, I made a conscious decision not to subscribe to an online Church. It would have been the beginning of my spiritual death. We extracted the exact service template onto zoom. I was suffocating. The height of our interaction was writing “Amen’ and ‘Hallelujah’ in the chat box. No, I told myself, this is too passive for me.
I connected with complete strangers (except one) through the setup of an impromptu Bible study group. We grew friendships, we journeyed together, and it transformed my life. It became my lockdown lifetime. God blessed the group with a spirit of freshness, new content, new discussions, new perspectives, and new experiences. I now live in a place of abundance and joy because of my knowledge. That was my game changer, and I cannot revert. I am now truly living.