The Blessing of Doing Community Differently

Like so many others, when COVID-19 became a pandemic, our lifestyle changed tremendously. We both went from commuting to work, to working from home. Community group went from meeting at our home, to meeting on Zoom. The learning curve was fast for technology and therefore interesting, challenging, and humorous at times. Our group leaders even figured out how to make ice breakers and a ‘social’ event work on Zoom.

Those initial days seem long ago now. Our community group has been meeting virtually, in order to maintain our connection safely, for over two months now. All things considered, it has been lots of fun and efficient. It has allowed us to share such things as the announcement of a pregnancy and birth of a grandchild with each other. We have also lifted up in prayer and encouragement those who have gone through a hard diagnosis, surgeries, treatment, and recovery during this difficult time. By using this form of media, we have been able to actually see each other as these life events have been shared with the group. It is so much more personal than a text or email. When you can see the excitement of the moment or the concern, it makes it easier to respond immediately with love and support. As time has gone on, it has also allowed us to better understand how we can continue to support each other.

We have grown spiritually together by focusing a part of our time on reviewing the most recent sermons. This time has included the selected scriptures of the reading plan and following the study guide. There was one evening we struggled together with difficult questions concerning the Bible’s direction for Christians in relationship to authority figures. Although there are not always easy answers, we always share our thoughts, prayers, and even a little humor. There was one night where Michael Jordan joined in, or at least a life-size cardboard version made it for the meeting. It has been a real blessing to be able to continue to communicate, see each other’s smiles, share some laughter, and pray together.

Prior to the pandemic, we were sharing meals and time with a group of international students at ETSU. We had decided as a group to invest in these young people after hearing the statistics of how most international students never step foot in a home in this country. Yet, after receiving their education, they typically go back to their country of origin as a leader and influencer. What a great opportunity for us to reach out and serve! Each time we have met with them, they have been gracious, fun, and appreciative, but in reality, it has been our group who has received the blessing. They have made an impact on us in a short period of time with their energy and enthusiasm. We wanted to do something for them since we have not been able to meet in a while. Through some research, we found a way to assist in a small way with some of their basic needs. We look forward to a time when we can gather in person with them again, with our community group again, and with our church. In the meantime, we are thankful for the resources to stay connected to the body of Christ.

Dwayne & Sunday Greer