007: Not forgetting the ‘Can’t Comes’
We’ve just begun gathering ‘in person’ again for our morning service at Banstead Community Church. We are continuing to livestream the service as we have done from my shed for the last 7 months because more than half the church can’t come or because of the restrictions in place are choosing not to come.
This category of ‘Can’t Come’ is not a new one.
It has always been there.
The older members who are shut-in’s (in their homes or care homes) and are no longer able to attend services. The members who have serious health conditions. The parents with special needs children who are unable to cope with attending a service. Those whose work shifts clash. Even those who have gone away on holiday and find themselves where there is no church that preaches the gospel. And so on…
Have we been aware of them?
A positive that hopefully will come out of the COVID crisis is churches who are more aware of those who can’t come, when there is no virus to keep them away, and who better care for them.
Johnny Prime has written a great article about how to do this with some great practical suggestions.
First, he suggests prioritising regular contact with those who can’t attend by phoning or better visiting them, whilst encouraging others in the church to make contact with them (Sunday afternoon might be a good time to do this!)
Next, thinking of ways to help them feel included in the live in-person service. This could be done by referring to them in the welcome or having a pre-recorded video of them doing the Scripture reading or praying (or children’s talk or giving testimony).
Then, keeping some activities online such as a prayer meeting on ZOOM.
Finally, by reminding them, that even if it feels like the rest of the church has forgotten them (which hopefully it doesn’t), the Lord has not forgotten them.
My hope is that when everything is ‘back to normal’ at Banstead Community Church we won’t forget that there are still those who can’t come out for all kinds of reasons and we will serve them better. At the very least, we will definitely be looking to continue live-streaming our services and having some prayer meetings on ZOOM.
(Photo: Julia Joppien)