Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1Thess. 5:11
Last Thursday evening was an encouraging time for so many of us as Bro. Kent joined our Friends and Neighbors for a little cookout and singing. It was great to see and hear Kent and his accompanist (Pam, Danny, and Dave) and be encouraged by his songs, music, and words of inspiration. It was also encouraging to see one another and speak to some whom we haven’t seen since COVID-19 started. Even with some social distancing, just seeing, and speaking to people we love brings much joy to our hearts. And, those old hymns so often remind us of the hope that we have in Jesus and that He is ever faithful even through the most difficult times of life.
This week I began to think a little bit about some of the things that I had stopped doing during COVID that I need to resume. It seems like there were several weeks where we were in “Survival” mode and we had to make adjustments to keep doing ministry. I think we used a lot of adrenaline in the “Survival” mode and when we moved more into the “Recovery” mode, many of us were tired and just wanted to get back to some of the things we missed the most; like gathering together for worship and life groups. While we are still in the “Recovery” mode in several areas, it is now time to move more toward a “Reframe” or “Reset” mode.
“Reframe” is where we evaluate what was working well (or not so well) before COVID came and what has been effective during COVID. We want to keep the things that are effective (in loving people, reaching people, and making disciples) and eliminate some of the things that were not working so well any more. COVID has given the church an opportunity to really evaluate all of our ministries and then focus on what is most important and most effective in accomplishing the mission God has given us.
This week I got to thinking about some of the things I was doing before COVID. Before COVID, I tried to be intentional in writing handwritten notes each week to people to thank them for their service and to encourage them in some way. The first few weeks of COVID, I tried to write notes to many of our shut-ins to let them know we were thinking about them and loved them. Then I kind of stopped. Before COVID, the staff was doing some discipleship together each week before our staff meeting. After COVID, we got focused on responding to COVID and stopped the discipleship. These are just a couple of things that I want to resume because it is important to encourage one another and grow together as disciples of Jesus. Is there anything you were doing pre-COVID that you should resume?
Today I want to be reminded of Paul’s exhortation to “encourage one another and build one another up.” Hebrews 10:25 also exhorts us to “encourage one another.” Who can you encourage today with a note, a call, or a visit? Proverb 15:23 says, “How delightful is a timely word” and Proverbs 16:24 adds, “gracious words are like honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” There are so many people who need a little encouragement these days and every Christian can be (and should be) an encourager. Will you take a moment after reading this and encourage somebody? You are awesome and I appreciate your efforts in encouraging somebody today!