Here at Bone of Bones we were recently joking about how our normal, daily lifestyles are now being called quarantine. While we introverts are more equipped to deal with the current situation, most Christians have seen their spiritual lives drastically impacted. With churches canceling Sunday services, bible studies, and other gatherings, the dent in fellowship and discipleship can be challenging both emotionally and spiritually since the Christian life is one lived communally (yes, even for the most ardent of recluses).
Fortunately, we are blessed to live in an age when we can connect with one another from the confines of our homes, and while this is not an ideal model for how we should conduct fellowship and discipleship regularly, it is certainly beneficial given the circumstances. We are grateful that God has provided means for us to continue to have fellowship with one another and be discipled through sound teaching during these unprecedented times. Here are a few ideas/resources for how Christians can cope with the current status quo.
Devotions, Prayer, and Family Worship
As you’re probably spending more time at home, this is a good reminder to continue practicing good daily habits. Continue your daily devotions. Spend time in prayer. If you’re at home with your family, implement times of family worship. If in the past you’ve found yourself distracted by the daily hectic grind and let these practices slide, perhaps now is a good time to refocus your time and energy. Changing priorities now will make these habits easier to continue when life goes back to normal.
The women in our church have a monthly prayer partner schedule to touch base with one another and meet one another’s needs in prayer. It’s been a great encouragement for us year-round, but it might be a perfect way for coping with quarantine. Consider creating a weekly rotation for the members of your church to reach out and encourage one another. It can seem daunting to address the needs of every person while isolated at home but focusing on praying for and encouraging one other person during this time is definitely manageable.
Right now, Ligonier is offering all their online group studies free of charge through June 30. Now is a great time to take advantage of these resources. They have more than 100 courses available from a variety of authors like R.C. Sproul, Michael Kruger, Sinclair Ferguson, and Joel Beeke. The Ligonier Connect group function allows you to invite friends to join you in enrolling so you can interactively learn together.
Our church has been utilizing Jitsi Meet to communicate with one another. It’s a free app you can use for fellowship and bible studies. We even used it last Sunday to do our church’s liturgy and sing a couple songs together corporately. Anyone can create a meeting and send the invite link for others to join. Once in the chat, you can see and speak to one another, much like a group FaceTime or Google Hangouts. For bible studies, it’s been a great way to interact with our elders and ask questions after online sermons and studies air on YouTube. It obviously can’t replace having face-to-face fellowship with one another, but it’s been a positive way to keep in contact while in quarantine.
YouTube has always been a great supplementary resource for listening to worship music and watching sermons and podcasts. Now is the perfect time to catch up on content you might have missed or don’t regularly have time for. You could even create a worship playlist (many videos have lyrics) and sing together as a family. If you’re pressed for ideas, all the content from the 2020 G3 Conference is currently available. The theme of this year’s conference was worship so it might be interesting to consider the practical applications of worship in these times of uncertainty.
However you choose to practice fellowship and discipleship during this time of social distancing, remember that we are called to care for one another and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). Likewise, we do not have an excuse to forsake the Word because we are stuck at home. Let us not forget that we are Christians wherever we are and thus have an obligation to be obedient regardless of the situation.