Being in the Room
Much as I love some of the efficiencies of our online gatherings (as per Nov 9th Leaders' Morning with Mark Green on ‘Being and Making Disciples in the Workplace’ – see below), and the possibilities they give to connect with a much wider cross-section of churches from around the nation, I’m also convinced that the gold standard is actually being in the same room. Paul sent his apostolic letters, the reformation was in many ways spread by the printing press, but it’s in-person connections where the real engagement takes place.
Jesus spent most of his time ‘in the room’ with his disciples. He could see the whites of their eyes when he told them to feed the crowds, the fear on their faces when overwhelmed by the storm, the regret in Peter’s expression when he meets him on the shore after his resurrection. There is no better experience of growing and learning together than actually being physically with each other.
Despite the ongoing concerns that some will understandably have around Covid, we are free at last to meet without fear, and to connect without barriers. The human touch, the spontaneous laughter and the hugs are precious.
Last week I met for 24 hours in the Midlands with our new Kx leadership team and we connected in ways we could never have done online (much laughter and teasing). I’ve just returned from an in-person Learning Community in Crewe (see below). The peer to peer connections and the enjoyment of sharing food round the table created a completely different and wonderful experience of both friendship and learning.
So let's make the most of the opportunities we have to gather, whether it’s round the meal table, in each other’s homes, or on a Sunday for a larger gathering. As the writer to the Hebrews said ‘don’t neglect meeting together’ Heb 10:25. It’s time to move away from self-protection and isolation, towards engaging with our sisters and brother, to be the glorious and beautifully connected body of Christ.