Do not neglect to (virtually) meet together
The book of Acts is the historical account of the early church and how God used the church to take the Gospel to the nations. At the end of Peter’s Spirit-filled sermon on the day of Pentecost, 3,000 souls were added to the church. In Acts 2:42-47, we see the early church devoted to God’s Word, prayer, and fellowship with other believers.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42–47)
From this text, we see the early church believers were committed not only to the Gospel, but to each other. They worshiped together, studied the Word together, ate together, and they served each other when there was a need. They were devoted to God and to each other because the Gospel of Jesus had brought them together. The church gathers together to worship the God who redeemed them through Jesus Christ.
The author of Hebrews writes on the importance of the gathering:
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24–25)
Our church functions on three distinct strategies that helps us make disciples who make disciples: Grow in the Gospel, Connect because of the Gospel, and Influence with the Gospel. Everything we do is guided by our strategy. So when we, along with the entire country, were called to practice “social distancing”, we had to find a new way to deliver on our strategy; especially when it came to connecting and gathering.
One of the key ways we connect is through weekly LifeGroups. These home groups gather to encourage one another, study the Word together, and pray together. If LifeGroups are a core component of our church, then what do we do when we cannot gather in homes? If we believe gathering is essential to the church, then we must find a way to continue gathering together.
Enter Zoom Video Conferencing. For the next few weeks, we will be gather with our LifeGroups virtually. We won’t leave our homes, but we’ll still meet to encourage, pray, and study the Word together. The early church attended the temple together, we’re going to zoom conference together. Social distancing does not mean isolation and if we believe community is essential for the Christian, then we must do everything we can to keep community while we practice social distancing.
Here’s why you should join and attend a Virtual LifeGroup:
To be an encouragement
Hebrews 10:25 clearly states not to forsake the gathering because it gives us an opportunity to “stir up one another to love and good works”. There is no greater time than now to be an encouragement to someone in your LifeGroup. You can encourage them to fear not, look to Jesus, and to stay in the Word. You can encourage them by saying they’re doing everything they can given the circumstances. It’s a unique time to love and encourage one another!
When you leave the virtual LifeGroup, you’ll know how to pray for those in your group. You’ll know how to encourage them and to serve them. You miss this opportunity if you miss meeting with them.
To be encouraged
If we are all gathering to be an encouragement to someone, then at some point, someone will encourage us. As we share our struggles, fears, doubts, and confess our sins, we will be encouraged to repent and trust in the Lord.
Again, social distancing does not mean isolation. We need one another. This is God’s design of the church; members joined together by unity in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). We are to be physically together but when we are called to not be together, we seek the gifts of grace such as the Zoom to gather together.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in his incredible work (available free on Cristian Audio), “The Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him”.
We have made worship to be a reference to music when, Biblically, worship is all of life (Romans 12:1-2). Everything we do is an act of worship to God or it is an act of worship of ourselves or of something we have made an idol. So how does gathering virtually lead us to worship God?
We worship God together knowing that God is in control of all things and hearing how God is at work in the hearts of your LifeGroup reminds us of this. He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)
We worship God together knowing that we are a family, united by the blood of Jesus. We were once enemies of God brought near to him by the death and resurrection. This is why the church gathers in celebration. It is a gift of grace to be united in Christ with other brothers and sisters.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer again states,
“It is easily forgotten that the fellowship of Christian brethren is a gift of grace, a gift of the kingdom of God that any may be taken from us, that the time that still separates us from utter loneliness may be brief indeed. therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common life with other Christians praise God’s grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren”.
So don’t neglect the virtual gathering of the church. When your LifeGroup meets via Zoom on Wednesday night, join in. You need them and they need you and we will all leave worshiping God for the gift of the church.
Not in a LifeGroup? Join one at thegracelifechurch.org/lifegroup.
**Your LifeGroup leader will post a link to the Zoom Video Conference on your LifeGroup Facebook page. Reach out to them if you need help!