Dear Church family,
It's kind of weird, because I live with at least three other highly extroverted people and an extremely relational dog. I attend a lot of Zoom calls and I'm generally busy most days with lots of meaningful things to do. But I can't help but to acknowledge the reality that I often find myself yearning for more true human connection in my life. I miss being more broadly connected. I miss hugs. I miss meeting new people. I miss the feeling of being physically together with groups of people, especially our church family. I don't know about you, but the isolation is starting to get to me.
Social isolation and loneliness have been linked to many physical and mental health problems including heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, and depression. The health damage caused by isolation and loneliness is estimated to increase the risk of early death by 26 percent, has been equated to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is estimated to cumulatively cost Medicare an additional $6.7 billion each year. Research shows us that a lack of human connection can be more harmful to your health than obesity, smoking and high blood pressure.
On top of all this, most of us have a profound connection between spiritual growth and social connectedness. We depend upon the encouragement of one another's stories and presence to remind us about the truths of God. Our church community mirrors back to us the love and acceptance which flows from our heavenly Father.
But here we are, aren't we? In the middle of a strange new world of a pandemic which is stretching out longer than any of us ever imagined (and some wildfires to boot)!
I want to say one thing today in the midst of it all. Get connected! Community and connection doesn't accidentally happen. It must be chosen and planned for. Therefore, I want to exhort you to prayerfully consider how you will stay connected and supported (and be a part of supporting other people) as we enter into the fall months.
Let me remind you about our 4-part "Functional Community Plan", to quote Julie Young. Here are four excellent ways that you can build connection and spiritual community within our church:
1. Small Groups. This is the bread and butter of being involved in our church. If you really want to grow in the context of our church, you should join a small group. Get more info here.
2. Quad Pods. This is something new that we are trying to enable people to meet up in person with three other people for sharing and prayer. If you're interested in joining one, you can sign up at bit.ly/pavcquadpod.
3. Reach 2. We encourage you to continue reaching out to at least two different people per week in some way. It could be a random person in our church or someone from your past or from your family.
4. Service. As God has given us three Community Partners with which to make a difference in our greater community, let's find ways to stay connected through various ways of volunteering and meeting the needs of those who are bearing great burdens. In fact, there is a great opportunity even this week! This Thursday, we are hosting a Back-To-School Prayer Vigil all day to support one of those Partners, Bayshore Christian Ministries. There are many ways to participate and you can find all the details and how to sign up at our website here.
Thanks for reading, friends. May the Lord give you wisdom about how to stay happy and healthy in God through one another.
Dear Church family,