How we set our course during Covid
It is important to live out of faith as brothers – especially during a pandemic, writes Mark Lyndon-Jones.
The early church demonstrates authentic community in many aspects of life and expressions of faith that they were devoted to: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer,” (Acts 2:42).
The Greek word ‘koinonia’ (translated here as fellowship) has the idea of association and participation; it means to share in something – doing life together, as I like to define it.
As brothers, if we ignore the common life of Christian fellowship we can easily become isolated and subsequently find it difficult to sustain a living faith.
I am grateful that I first experienced the ‘koinonia’ of a ‘band of brothers’ way back in 2005.
What defined it as true fellowship and authentic community for me was a bunch of ordinary men – some pre-Christian – meeting together on a weekly basis being real about the triumphs and tragedies of life.
In these Covid-challenging times we as an MPower team have sought to keep in ‘koinonia’ with our band of brothers across the Movement through our weekly devotionals and midweek video moments, as well as our podcast series and our monthly band of brothers Facebook live community discussions.
During Covid these resources have enabled connection and community to continue not just in the UK but reaching across 34 nations and six continents.
These platforms have enabled us to share some of the struggles of the brothers through a number of the encouraging and heart-wrenching stories we receive.
Here are a few brief insights of the real-life challenges faced by some of the brothers...
“About a year ago my mum died. As with so many others I was unable to visit and over time this made things difficult for me.
At first I hadn’t realised that I wasn’t involving people who could help me get through this where I needed it most, spiritually.
“Prayer and Bible-reading faltered and stopped, and I closed down from the inside out. It started to affect my marriage, I felt I couldn’t tell anyone; I felt isolated.
I finally spoke to some brothers who cared and loved me; they asked some tough questions, but this helped me see clearly how far I had stepped away from God.
“Don’t allow fear to rule you. Speak out, let others in, pray and read the Word and, even in the darkest of places, Christ’s light will always shine for you.”
Another testimony received was from a business executive who was feeling very low and in a dark place due to the effects of Covid on his work, but who found himself being strengthened in the Lord by our WhatsApp business resources for men:
“When I stopped working on Friday, I went into a very dark place. The loneliness has been overwhelming, even in my own household and amongst family.
“Today I decided to take a long hike and I listened to the MPower podcasts whilst walking. I just want to say I’ve been so blessed and now have a better perspective. May God bless you and the MPower team.”
Roy McEwen (MPower team member and solutions architect) conveyed this friendly advice during one of our weekly ‘iron sharpening’ connections:
“The lack of in-person contact is putting relationships to the test. Men are realising they are not the people they thought they were.
Loneliness in lockdown is real, and finding the right coping strategy that works for you is challenging.
“One that’s flexible and can work for all men is ‘seeking God’.
It’s the one activity that thrives on silence – a one-to-one connection with God. Prayer is the name of the conversation we have with God.
“Build in a daily moment to speak with God and listen to his leading and guidance. Your compass and course will be set, enabling you to soar.”
Like the early church brothers let’s keep connected through real koinonia – the MPower team will do what we can to help build authentic community.
This article first appeared in the November 2021 issue of Direction, Elim’s monthly magazine. Subscribe now to get Direction delivered directly to your home.
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