Our lives are made up of connections. Those connections reveal the truth of the adage ‘no man is an island’. Indeed, we are far greater and stronger together than we are individually. One of the greatest connections we can have, especially as believers in Jesus Christ, is with the Church. Surely, the Covid-19 pandemic has truly proven that to us.
If you are like me and several other believers, you would have experienced the blessing of online church – the virtual Saturday or Sunday morning worship, the technologically advanced Bible Studies, the ‘big screen’ preaching of the Word – But also, you may have been struggling and frustrated with not fellowshipping with others in the same physical space. Let’s be honest, although some persons have found online church to be a good alternative for face-to-face fellowship, it has left many of us longing for greater togetherness with those who are our family in Christ. In August 2020, a representative of Religion News Service, noted that “…the reality is without our pastors helping us, without leaders in our churches helping us to stay connected, people struggle” (christiancentury.org). Now, isn’t that the truth?! I believe it is. Just over a year ago the American Bible Society revealed that from a Bible survey that was done during the pandemic, 13 million people in America were not engaging meaningfully with scripture as before the pandemic. It is reasonable to say that the fall in meaningful Bible engagement is associated with factors such as greater demands that parents have with home schooling and work but also with the fact that church attendance has been tremendously limited. As a result, we see clearly and can honestly confess that the Church is necessary. The community of believers that gather frequently helps to provide a significant degree of accountability that too many of us have taken for granted. Admittedly, there are structural issues and accountability challenges that have come to the fore in recent times, especially in relation to charismatic churches and leaders. Nonetheless, we must recognize the power that has been given to the family of Christian believers to directly and indirectly help each other to walk out our Christian journey. Though it is a personal, individual journey that we are each responsible for, the church plays a fundamental role in pushing us along this path as we run this race for the prize of eternity with our Lord.
The Church has always been a part of my life, so resorting to online church to maintain this fellowship with believers is something I was committed to doing to help preserve my connection with the body of Christ and the Lord. I must admit though, I missed the real church. I missed the gathering of the believers – the worship together, the prayer sessions, the actual smiles and hugs – all of it. In many countries, including my own, Covid-19 restrictions have been put in place in a number of churches to help slow the spread of the virus. I understand the need for them but I dislike them. Never did I imagine that I would see the day when Christians have to register to worship in God’s house. However, for the sake of fellowship and not forsaking our assembling as scripture warns us, I have made sure to call my Church office and register my attendance. I recommend that you do the same and stay connected with the family of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.