Lockdown #2

We all saw this coming, but it’s still a bit of a blow. The renewed loss of our personal freedoms feels a bit like a second prison sentence.


Photograph courtesy of @neonbrand


A cloud of collective despondency could easily fall on us at this time, and so those of us who care for others must now earnestly turn our attention towards helping them to stay encouragedThe importance of this is one of the reasons why the writer to the Hebrews tells us that we should “…not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another” (Hebrews 10.25).

Contact and courage are often connected, and so maintaining our contact with other believers is the first step in ensuring that we do not all wither away – spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Here’s 7 tried-and-tested online ideas* for congregations, which most of us CAN do, despite all of our present, limiting circumstances:


1. Go on a local prayer-walk, but meet up beforehand to motivate each other, and afterwards to share what you prayed about.

2. Run a social action group, for compassionate people who love to help others. Discuss local needs, and ways you could meet them.

3. Upskill yourself and others, by hosting an interest group which shares books, recipes, gardening tips, quizzes, games etc. 

4. Run a support group, in partnership with a Doctor or Counsellor, on any theme which is relevant to people in your local area.

5. Host ‘Conversations with a Difference’ and invite a range of people to join you, from a range of different backgrounds. 

6. Organise a group mindfulness session, in which everyone is led through a guided meditation on a moment in Jesus’ life. 

7. Host an interactive ‘Songs of Praise’, and invite people who show up to share a song which is special to them, at this time. 

[* Ideas shared courtesy of Michael Moynagh, Associate Tutor at Wycliffe College, Oxford.]


Needless to say, none of these suggestions are going to ‘beat’ meeting together in-person. However, they are much better than doing nothing at all. We must not surrender to the despondency which is ‘crouching at the door’ of our hearts, and could easily overpower us (see Genesis 4.6-7). To fight it, let us continue to encourage one another, in whatever ways we are able to, even if most can only be ‘virtual’. 


Photograph courtesy of @neonbrand


An old family friend (literally – he is now in his 70s) was sentenced to 10 years in prison for something he did as a young man, but which he had never told his wife about. He has been incarcerated in various prisons now, and none of them have been anywhere near where his wife lives. However, she has visited him faithfully wherever he has been sent, in spite of the great inconvenience and personal cost to herself.

This is what love looks like. It doesn’t give up on the people who need us the most, no matter how great the inconvenience and personal costs which we incur in doing so. As congregation leaders, we may have to endure another 6 months or so of relational disruption, and thus another 6 months of our (sometimes tiresome) forms of online interactions. They are not great, but they will be a lifeline for many.

Let’s continue to endure this season of technological tedium, even if it is only a labour of love.