by Mary Frances, FaithX Senior Consultant
Creating Neighborhood Community
The post is part of our “Keeping Congregations Connected in the Face of COVID-19” blog series.
What opportunities for connection, joy, support, love, collaboration, and ministry in your neighborhood are just waiting to be noticed, named, and nurtured?
This strange time we are living in seems to be a time of dichotomy. Social distance but stay connected. Protect yourself for the sake of others. Find unity in the diaspora. Celebrate life while we sadly count the deaths. Yet the church was created for a time such as this. Today the most pressing question in the church is how do we stay connected while we are all at least 6 feet apart? How do we go about creating neighborhood community from behind our computer screens?
I think we find the answer in shifting from our well-worn model of large group gatherings to something smaller and closer to home: house churches, neighborhood groups, small groups, or fractals. Call them what you will, but small groups of people gathering around the gospel are the very foundation of the church. We find examples of them in the New Testament and more recently in the growing Christian church in China as well as the house church movement all around the world. In 1950 the Christian church in China was close to 4 million people. Today the church in China boasts over 67 million people. And yet the church is still often underground, persecuted and unable to meet in groups of more than 10 people. Ten people. That number sounds so familiar. It’s the number many states are using when they talk about lifting restrictions and allowing small groups to gather again with social distancing. More dichotomies…gather at a distance![Read more…]