At the time of writing, the Bay Area is two days in to a “Shelter in Place” order to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
We know that adjusting to this new way of life isn’t always easy. Perhaps you suddenly became a homeschool teacher for your children, while juggling the demands of your own job. Or maybe you’re feeling alone and miss grabbing coffee with your friends or coworkers.
While we do have new limits on our social activities, it’s important to remember that this change in our lives also brings opportunities to connect with each other in ways we may not have otherwise discovered.
“Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.  This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 TPT
What are some creative ways we can encourage each other while we stay physically apart?
Plan a game night
That’s right, social distancing doesn’t have to come in the way of a fun night with your friends. A few days ago, Gordon and Bella Chu planned a virtual game night with their friends Ali and Morgan Memar and Eric and Theresa Kao.
“We’d already watched the entire Harry Potter series and I was tired of movies and felt like hanging out with my friends,” said Bella. “I love game nights and saw no reason to miss out because of a pandemic.”
As someone who has worked remotely for two days a week for several years, Bella knew how well video conferencing apps work for meetings and for social interactions. She and her friends used Facebook Portal for their game night, but the Zoom app works well too.
Google Hangouts is another video chat app that works well for one-on-one interactions, if you’d like to plan something smaller.
Video conferencing apps can help you stay involved in your community too. Bella is the chair of her Neighborhood Association and plans to use Zoom to host remote meetings.
Creative prayer and friendship times
As Hebrews 10 says, we need each other! Even if you can’t meet up with a friend face-to-face, you can use digital tools to stay connected. Here are some ideas for ways you can still have spiritual conversations with your friends while you shelter in place:
- Use Zoom – Zoom works well to connect with a group of friends. Google Hangouts and Apple FaceTime are great alternatives for Android and Mac/iOS users respectively.
- Prayer walks – walk outside to pray while keeping 6 feet between you and anyone you don’t live with.
- Household prayer time – Take time to pray together with your roommates or spouse.
- Live stream church services – The link to watch our Sunday message will remain active for 7 days so you can re-watch the service again.
- Midweek lessons via Zoom – We are using the Zoom app to do creative and interactive midweek services. Contact the ministry staff in your local area to get connected.
- Bible studies via Zoom – you can do Bible studies with friends using Zoom or another video conferencing app.
- Order take-out for a “dinner date” – remember, many restaurants are open for takeout or delivery. If you miss going out to eat with friends, order take-out and video chat.
Use Netflix Party to have a movie night
Yep, you can still have movie nights with your friends too. Netflix Party lets you watch your Netflix titles at the same time as your friends. It also has a chat room feature so you can all react to that twist-ending at the same time.
Got a creative idea? We want to hear from you!
Have you found some creative ways to stay connected with your friends and family while you shelter in place? We want to hear from you! Send your story and a picture or screenshot to firstname.lastname@example.org.