Caring for groups in the new normal

April 1, 2020

Sunday, March 1 was a typical day. You went to church looking forward to group time, eager to share a theme that you had not only worked hard to prepare for, but that you were also excited to apply to your life as you entered the spring.

But just a week later, life was anything but typical. Church services were canceled, and groups were not able to meet. Times changed, and they continue to change, moment by moment.

We now find ourselves under a “stay-at-home” order because of the spread of COVID-19. Groups can no longer gather in buildings or in homes. This can create stress and anxiety for you and your group.

Changes in life rhythms can also lead to anxiety about your own health, and the health of your family, friends and loved ones. Such stress can also result in changes in sleeping or eating habits, problems with maintaining focus and an increase in chronic health issues.

How can your groups function in the new normal? In 1 John 3:11, Jesus said, “For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.” But how can you love your group when gatherings are banned and everyone is in isolation?

Here are some suggestions that can alleviate some of the stress and pain:

  • Call rather than text your group members on a regular basis. Hearing a voice when there is a feeling of isolation is more reassuring than looking at words.
  • Set up a free Zoom account that allows video or voice interaction and also provides an easy group call to one number.
  • Listen deeply. Hear what people are saying, as well as what is not being said. Ask questions that allow them to share rather than simply responding to questions with a “yes” or “no.”
  • Determine what needs group members may have.
  • Pray with them, and always point to Jesus.

Taking care of your group can help you cope with stress. As your group members help each other cope with stress, your group life will grow deeper.

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you or someone in your group is experiencing emotional distress related to the coronavirus, stay in contact and encourage them to call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) disaster distress helpline at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. If it is an emergency, dial 911.


by Rick Hughes  /  
Sunday School and Small Groups /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

Listening — a road map for evangelism

In my first year of ministry, I spent a week in the summer at Caswell with a group of youth from Riverside Baptist Church, the church I pastored in Bertie County. There, I met Mark, a volunteer youth leader who brought three teens from the church he served. The afternoon of our...

What happened when 1 pastor designed a service around baptism

Phil Goble Jr. didn’t like how baptism was often tacked onto the end of a worship service, so he decided to do something different. “Baptism is more than just being dunked and sat on a pew,” said Goble, pastor of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Hayesville. “It is a public...

Resolution submission deadline is Sept. 10

The deadline to submit resolutions for consideration by the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s (BSCNC) Committee on Resolutions and Memorials is quickly approaching. In accordance with state convention bylaws, proposed resolutions must be submitted to the committee in...

How to make baptism services memorable

Baptism is a major celebration in the Baptist church. The Baptist Faith and Message describes baptism this way: “Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s...

NCMO provides for vital health screening ministry

NCMO provides for vital health screening ministry Your gifts to the North Carolina Missions Offering (NCMO) provide for vital health screenings to underserved individuals which, in turn, opens the door for gospel proclamation across North Carolina. This ministry, operated by...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get the latest news and information by signing up for our N.C. Baptist newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!