A while back, several years maybe, I had a conversation with a person who was probably 50 something. I had heard that in years past, this individual had been very active in the church, here every time the doors were open. This person said, “I feel so disconnected now—we’re gone so much—parents have been sick, we’ve been visiting the kids and grandkids and vacationing a lot. We just can’t be here very much.” At the time, I thought, “I get it. It’s hard to stay involved, stay connected if you are not here. It’s just their stage of life.”
Fast-forward to last month, I was talking to some twenty-something adults about forming a Covenant Group. They talked about how busy they were and all they had going on—they’re often out of town for work or school. I thought to myself, “Here it comes—these guys can’t do it, they can’t form a group because their schedules are crazy AND some are gone a good part of the time.” But, it never came. They never said a word about how the group was doomed because everyone was so scattered. They just took it for granted that they could stay connected regardless of where they were physically.
About half the time I’m irritated with technology. I don’t understand it; I don’t know the language; I don’t know its capabilities. I get VERY frustrated because I don’t know enough to troubleshoot if my computer or my phone goes haywire—except turn it off and allow it to “heal itself.” BUT, I LOVE THE CONNECTIVITY of technology!!! How is it that I can worship with my community on Sunday morning when I’m out of town or lying on my couch (because I’m sick, of course!)? How is it that I can read all about what is happening at the church TODAY by opening an email? How is it that I can receive a brief Facebook prayer from my church EVERY DAY that sets the tone for my morning? How is it that when a new prayer concern is received, it immediately—I said immediately— goes out to 100 praying souls!!!
It’s amazing, really, especially for those of us who haven’t grown up with it. More and more I see that if someone really wants to stay connected to our community of faith, regardless of where life takes them, they can. And more importantly, I’m realizing that we haven’t yet scratched the surface of connectivity—I know, I’m a little slow.
How exciting would it be for someone who has had surgery to face time with their weekly Bible study? How meaningful and uplifting would it be for someone to take an IPad to a nursing facility and worship with one of our saints who can no longer attend church physically? What about a Covenant Group or support group that meets periodically in person and the rest of the time online? What about tuning in to a church-wide Lenten study in my Sunday school class or in my small group or at my home? Nothing new here for younger folks, but this old mind is blown by the possibilities!
For me, at this point in my life, it’s about “presence,” physical presence—making physical connections each week, each Sunday. I want to be in the room, in the same space with my sisters and brothers in Christ. But, if/when I’m unable to be present physically, that doesn’t mean connection can’t happen, that doesn’t mean connections cannot be maintained—not anymore.
How do we expand our connectivity as a community of faith? I don’t have a clue—I don’t have the knowledge, the language, the skills— but I know that there are people who do know and are passionate about it! Because, let’s not forget that God calls us into connection. So there you are! This is a warning—I’m praying about this daily!