Now more than ever, we are looking for ways to stay connected. In our jobs and with clients, in school or with family and friends, connection is so critical. In my circles, how we stay connected as the church is an ongoing conversation
First, let me say I believe every church in our area is trying, more than ever, to stay connected with members during this COVID-19 pandemic. From live streaming in living rooms to preaching in empty sanctuaries into a cell phone propped on a stack of hymnals, I see church members and leaders doing their best to be the church.
These stories inspire and give me hope, so thank you! And yet, all of this is so tiring as well.
I talked to a church member a few months ago who asked how I was liking all this vacation time, since I’m not having to work or preach right now. And she was serious.
For me personally, this season has been more exhausting than anything I’ve ever done in ministry. Most of the members in the two churches I serve have been incredibly supportive of me and my family during this time. I also can’t put into words how thankful I am for my wife, Heather. She is the one who makes sure the tripod is level and the angle is right every Sunday morning. She handles a virtual welcome and announcements and then hands it over to me to preach as she sits and prays for me. She has been right by my side through it all.
There’s something else that gives me an even deeper hope for the future of the church.
Hugh Wallace, a member at Telford United Methodist Church, takes his laptop to Jackie’s house every Sunday morning (and took Jackie a face mask since he didn't have one). Jackie doesn’t have internet access, a computer or smart phone. He was disconnected from all of the online worship opportunities, but now is connected because of Hugh.
The kitchen table has become a place of worship, again. The table has truly been extended, again.
And all because one person took a laptop to another person’s house so they could worship together -- so they could be the church together.
I am amazed by all of our creative ways to stay connected, but perhaps the “house church” or “kitchen table church” is what inspires me most right now. It doesn’t take a lot. It just takes a Jackie who has a need, and a Hugh willing to do something about it.
This column originally appeared in the "Pastor Michael" blog.
The Rev. Michael Vaughn (pictured with wife Heather) is pastor at Telford United Methodist Church in Telford, Tennessee, and Asbury United Methodist Church in Limestone, Tennessee.