Hey everyone, I miss you a ton and wanted to encourage you in a healthy direction during this time of distancing. I know we can use as much encouragement as we can get. As it’s been said, “No one has ever been over encouraged.”
I told a friend the other day that I probably couldn’t afford the quality of audit and consultation this pandemic has given me. What I mean by that is all of my best attempts to build a life and a family and a church is being exposed in both good and bad ways. Maybe you’ve sensed the same. We’re all being audited to some degree. Our best and worst efforts are on display.
And maybe you’ve been tempted to feel shame for where you feel you’re lacking. Don’t. There’s no room for shame in the gospel-centered life. None. Condemnation for the believer died on the cross. We’re free to take what we’re learning right now, celebrate grace, and move forward.
With the removal of large gatherings and a normal Sunday morning rhythm, our relational depth is exposed by this audit. Some of us are doing life so tightly with others that COVID-19 didn’t create an issue relationally. Taking it in stride, some of us have continued to Zoom or call our way through this, driving quality into your times.
Some of us however are realizing over the weeks however how much we relied on a Sunday morning to build tight relationships. Once that rhythm disappeared, the loneliness started to creep in.
I miss Sunday too. Badly. I miss seeing your faces. I cry over it often, but Sunday was never the bedrock for my relationships. There’s simply no way anything deep can be built in the 9 minutes before a service and the 3.5 minutes after service while the kids are melting down.
Here’s my encouragement: Build or nurture tight life on life relationships in this time, while we have the time to focus on it. In Hebrews 10:24–25, we hear “And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” There is no pandemic clause here.
Life-on-life gospel centered relationships are our norm as a church. We call these DNA groups. I’m sure other healthy churches call them something different. It’s an acronym for Disciple, Nurture, and Accountability, They are not hyper masculine confession booths to be cleansed, but gospel environments where we can be known deeply.
They are smaller (one one one, or one on few) gospel-centered and gender specific groups that allow a much deeper peer discipleship moment providing the most exposure to gospel ministry.
Some of you are already in one. Some of you have been meaning to get around to it. Some of you have had no intention to do that but are yet lonely. I’m in a couple DNAs myself, and they do the heavy lifting that a service struggles to do. These groups can meet anywhere anytime now. Without kids, and without a ton of administration they are highly portable.
Here are some great ground rules for a DNA group:
- Anything can be asked.
- You must tell the truth
- Everything is confidential
- There is no judgement.
Friends, this is our normal for quite a while. With churches struggling to find ways to gather where it makes sense, this is the best way to stay connected, growing, and known. Even with churches regrouping a semblance of their Sunday services, we’re having to ready ourselves for a yo-yo effect in case we have to flatten the curve and again go into social distancing, which is expected by many. With so many question marks - we can all do this right now and we can do it well.
The #1 reason I hear from people as to why they aren’t in one is that it’s hard to find one. Agreed, they are hard. Then again, if it was easy, you wouldn’t value it or grow. I’m glad it’s hard to pick up the phone and start one. I’m glad it’s hard to be committed to one. Hard things bring value. If the people you’re trying to connect to are hard then it’s exactly what the author of Hebrews had in mind. The gospel is perfect for these groups.
If you need one of these groups, contact your COM leader. If you aren’t in a COM group, click here and let us help you find one. Be committed to these tightest of relationships in this season.