We were created for community. From the first moment of the creation of humanity (as recorded in Genesis 2), God immediately created a “companion” for the human, because “It’s not good for the [human] to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) God designed us from the beginning to do life together!
Following the resurrection of Jesus, the early church decided to lean into the way that they were created by God and started doing life together. In Acts 2:44 we learn that “all who believed were together and had all things in common.” Reading the description, we find that they did life together by praying together, worshiping together, eating together, being in mission together. They did life together as they encouraged, supported and equipped one another in their walk with Jesus.
John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement, understood this truth deeply and built it into the fabric of our tradition. Beginning with what he called “class meetings,” Wesley had the people who were serious about being followers of Jesus gather together regularly for spiritual community, connection, support and accountability. And as people met together and learned to do life together, they grew in their love of God and neighbor and lived their walk with Jesus more intentionally.
We are called to the same. No pandemic and need to keep our physical distance from one another need prevent us from “doing life together” and growing in the faith together!
I worry about folks getting disconnected from the church and from one another. I miss being with the people of Eden Prairie United Methodist Church. I’m sure you do, too. I read today that “if a church member is in a small group, his or her likelihood of returning [to church after the pandemic] is high.” We don’t have to wait to see what happens. We can do something now to keep people connected to one another and increase the chances that we will not lose anyone to the pandemic of distance. Your Connect Team has been working on a plan for us to make deep connections with one another while we cannot gather physically as an entire community of faith.
Let’s Connect is a collection of small groups (7-10 members) that meet for a defined period of time (6 – 8 weeks) to make deep and personal connections with others through Eden Prairie United Methodist Church. Everyone is invited and encouraged to be a part of a Let’s Connect small group this fall as part of their faith journey at Eden Prairie Church. Whether your Let’s Connect group meets on the church lawn, on someone’s back deck, or online, it can be a place of deep connection.
Please fill out the short 3 question survey HERE to help us assess your interest level. Each adult in your household should follow the link and fill out the survey. Staff are developing small groups for children and youth and an invitation will come to their parents for their participation.
Deb Soderholm and Bruce Webster (co-chairs of the Connect Team) hope that some groups can take advantage of the nice weather and meet outdoors. If you are interested, please fill out the survey within a week so that we can start some Let’s Connect groups NOW.
What an exciting season to lean into our faith traditions and our deep desire for connection.
Pastor Becky Jo Messenbrink