Marlene and I have been friends for a long time. When I moved to London, we stayed in touch via text and videocalls (and letters!). As I started getting stuck into The Globe Church, naturally I told Marlene all about it. Back home, neither of us were in very healthy churches. We were not aware that being part of a church family was a good thing. As I started understanding the awesomeness that is church family, we started thinking of ways to get Marlene stuck into one. For numerous reasons it was at that time for her not possible to find a healthy church...
The solution came sometime last November. We were chatting about a problem and I thought back to last week’s sermon. I suggested Marlene check it out on the website because it would be really helpful. Marlene’s response: “Dude, I already listened to that. I’ve been following the sermons since September.” How cool!
It is so important to have good teaching. Due to her specific circumstances, Marlene was unable to access that at home so online teaching was a great option! But -church- is more than just teaching. In Acts 2:42-47, the believers devoted themselves not just to teaching but to fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. Not all of those things are transferable virtually. But one way Marlene and I wanted to make Marlene’s experience more church-like was to start doing One21 every week. Every week, questions about the sermon are uploaded on One21 (click on the link to go the website or download the app from the App store). It provides a way to take one out of 21 meals a week and use it to meet one-2-1 with someone to work through that week’s sermon.
Marlene and I have been taking an hour every week to videocall (Facebook, Skype, Whatsapp and Zoom are all great options). We go through the questions, talk about what we learned that Sunday, apply it to each of our lives and pray for each other. It’s such a great way to let the message dwell richly, to connect to other Christians rather than just listening to teaching online.
Meeting online similar to meeting up face-to-face. There are of course slight differences; it’s harder to read body language, you can’t hug each other and it can be a bit awkward (but then so can real life meetings 😉). But it’s largely the same! You start your call, smooth out tech issues, catch each other up on your day, open up the One21 app and work your way through the questions. We usually end by spending some time in prayer and then you end your call – as simple as that! If you're new to this online videoconferencing, simply Google how to. Usually you can download an app onto your computer or smartphone fairly easily at no cost. Failing all that you can just phone people!
Meeting online isn’t the same as being part of church normally. It doesn’t replace same time, same place meeting. There are a number of things different or non-existent when meeting like this, such as worship, serving and community with many people. But as long as Marlene is unable to physically attend a healthy church, this is a great option. It has helped us to grow together, and to not divorce good Bible teaching from good Christian fellowship. Once you start, the possibilities are endless for much more meaningful engagement with friends and missionaries all over the world! So if this all feels a bit too much effort, you have to know the benefits are wide, far-reaching and well worth the effort.
With whom could you be spending time in the Word online this week?