Connected in Quarantine – Bethel Church and Ministries

Connected in Quarantine

 

Now more than ever, many of us are realizing the power and importance of feeling connected to one another. As we’ve all been experiencing social distancing and have been sheltering at home, we already miss the normal things in life we are used to—shaking someone’s hand at church, meeting a friend for coffee, seeing friends at school, interacting with coworkers, and just casually going to Target.

Often in history we’ve heard how the worst of times can also become the best of times. We have already seen creative and heart-warming acts start to take place as our normal daily activities in the world stop and most of us are at home. People are in a forced pause, and that pause has allowed people to start thinking more of others in need, what they can do to help, and fun ways to still be in community and connection with each other.

Technology is giving us all a major win with the ability to stay connected, communicate, and encourage one another. Our church has been able to livestream church services and it’s been really encouraging to see people welcoming and encouraging each other on the live chat feature. 

Social Media

The ability to stay in connection and community through social platforms like Facebook give us an amazing opportunity we did not have just a few years ago. I am personally noticing a trend of people moving from only sharing the polished and glossy version of their lives to being more genuine with one other and sharing the hard, messy, real version. It’s also allowed us to start putting forth community initiatives, and gives us a singular place to communicate about those needs and take action to meet them. 

Video Conferencing

This has been an amazing tool for so many of us to start using and quickly become familiar with. Zoom, one of the most popular platforms, has skyrocketed with downloads and use this past week. Video conferencing allows you see others in your meeting on your device screen. Most of us have realized we miss in-person conversations and the ability to read body language, so the ability to have a virtual face-to-face chat has been very helpful. There are several video conferencing services available for free. Some of them include Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Messenger, Skype, Marco Polo, and more.

Here are some fun and creative ideas we’ve seen people doing to connect with others, and some practical suggestions for you to still feel connected with others while staying at home:

  • Jeff and Melissa Anderson invited a bunch of people to join them for a virtual dinner at their home. They set a time and shared a Zoom link for anyone who wanted to log on so people could all “join” each other for a casual dinner.
  • Eric and Laura Wasko from the Hobart/Portage campus hosted a trivia night and invited people to join via Zoom. People enjoyed community and fun on a Friday night all from their own homes.
  • Other Bethel families are starting Bible studies with one other, and small groups are continuing to meet over video screens. Our church staff and smaller teams have also been meeting via video conferencing. 
  • I personally plan to host some virtual coffee dates with people who would like to pour a cup of coffee and just chat about life later in the week.
  • I watched a fun story on the Today show about a grandfather and grandson jamming out together with a guitar and singing to music together over their video screens. What a fun way for them to connect!

These ideas are amazing and it’s so much fun to see people’s creativity at work in these times.

Serving Others and Community Connection

One of the main ways we usually encourage people to get connected at Bethel is to serve on a team. While our traditional serving teams look different right now since we are not able to hold church in a building, there are different ways our community is banding together to serve others in this difficult time. Serving together and working toward a shared goal always brings about a powerful spirit of unity and connection with others. Some of those examples are people sewing masks for hospital workers, writing cards of encouragement and making pictures for the elderly, sick, and those in nursing homes, responding to food drive or shopping needs, and more. 

A few other creative ideas we’ve seen in creating connection and encouragement within our communities have been: 

  • Families writing encouraging messages with chalk on their sidewalks for people to be encouraged as they are out taking walks.
  • People are creating fun activities for kids in some of their neighborhoods, like “going on a bear hunt” to see how many teddy bears they can find placed in people’s front windows. There have also been photo projects where photographers drive by to take photos of people inside their homes. 
  • Let’s not forget about the beauty of a simple phone call. I miss the days of calling up my friends or family for a chat over the phone. Now may be a great time to grab a cup of coffee and just take the time to talk with someone you haven’t talked with in a while without rushing off somewhere.

All these ideas are just part of helping us know we are all connected to one other in humanity and our longing for being part of a unified family or friend group, community, church body, or nation together. Great job, Bethel community, for your creative contribution in connecting with others!