By Jimbo Stewart
“We cared so much for you that we were pleased to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us” (1 Thessalonians 2:8)
If you are like me, and I know many of you are, one of the hardest things about the calls for social distancing is the pastor’s lack of real connection with his flock. As pastors we have given our lives to serve the bride of Christ, but now we find it harder than ever because we feel disconnected from our churches at times.
Have you ever noticed how the only singular pronouns in the Lord’s prayer refer to God? Biblical community is an essential part of the Christian life. God intends us to stay connected. The body of Christ is better when we are together.
As you are painfully aware, better together is a difficult value to live out in our current context. You can only connect so well over a computer screen or a phone.
At our church we have tried to come up with as many creative ways as we can to connect with our members and our community. Here are some ideas to stay connected with your flock that we have been employing at Redemption Church.
- Create a spreadsheet list of every member and regular attender for our church. Divide that list among your other leaders in your church and make regular phone calls. Make these phone calls intentional. Check on how they are doing physically, mentally, and spiritually.
- Sit by a “How can I pray for you?” Sign in front of the church with a mask and gloves inviting church and community members to come sit 6-10 feet away for real and meaningful human interaction. This provides a lot of opportunities for member care and gospel conversations.
- Create door hangers for members to put on neighbor’s doors offering to help and informing about the church’s online services
- Host daily Facebook live devotionals at 7am.
- Stop by to see your members that live alone. Knock on the door, back up 10 feet to have a great conversation. Give encouragement and lead in prayer.
- Handwritten letters can be a real blessing to your members during this time.
I would love to hear how you are laboring to connect. However you are doing it, keep up the good work! You are making long-term kingdom investments in your flock.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Jimbo Stewart is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Jacksonville, Florida.