29 Mar What is Your Post-Pandemic Plan for Re-engaging in Fellowship?
In her recent article in World Magazine, Andree Seu Peterson observes that Christians around the country are battling symptoms of lassitude in our relationships with one another.
Lassitude is a medical term that describes the state of being weary or tired. Webster’s 1828 Dictionary adds that lassitude is an “uneasiness proceeding from continued waiting, disappointed expectation or exhausted patience, or from other cause.”
Sound familiar? It did to me, too.
Think about it. It’s been a year since some of us have seen each other. People in our church family have experienced pregnancy and delivered children, gotten engaged, lost jobs, changed jobs, retired, received devastating diagnoses, battled COVID-19, moved away, welcomed an aging parent into their home, experienced mental illness or anxiety for the first time—or harder and more grievous still—lost loved ones without the comfort of a memorial service or funeral.
It’s been an incredibly difficult year. There is just no other way around it.
But amidst all the challenges and hardships of this year, another subtle but dangerous threat exists—and the church is not immune.
Peterson continues, “At some point after post lockdown onset, I noticed that the less I saw people, the less I wanted to see people. I just got comfortable like a Hobbit.”
The danger of “fellowship lassitude”
Can you relate? Have you felt an inexplicable weariness in the last few months of the COVID-19 lockdown—too tired or weary to call anyone, go anywhere, or even open up your computer to join your small group on Zoom?
Brothers and sisters, this sounds like our enemy’s work against us amidst a global pandemic. He is cunning, sly, and prowls looking for any situation to promote apathy or, worse yet, distrust of brothers and sisters in our fellowship. Our enemy is at work, and he takes pleasure seeing a saint drift toward isolation and away from fulfilling one’s vital role with our church family. It’s one of his oldest tricks.
Together, we must recognize the danger of our present circumstances and fight against “fellowship lassitude.” If we don’t, I fear we may face more significant consequences in the months and years to come.
The good news in God’s kindness is that it appears we are nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You may find that it requires extra energy and determination to do some of the relational activities you once found second nature. Expect it to be hard at times, but push through and know that God’s grace abounds as we adjust to post-pandemic life.
I also understand that while most of us are emerging from lockdown, some remain providentially hindered from in-person gatherings because they are shut-in or facing a significant at-risk situation. Our God is merciful. We trust He will make provision for your needs in your situation.
Regardless of where you may be in your progress toward re-entry with people, may I ask you to consider three questions? These questions will help remedy your bout with fellowship lassitude–even if you’ve already returned to in-person worship.
1. PLAN: What is your plan for re-engaging with your church family?
This should not be an attitude that says, “I’ll re-engage when things get back to normal.” The fact is, whatever the normal may look like after the pandemic, it may not be what it was before. What are the conditions necessary for you to safely take the next step in your pursuit of fellowship? What is your plan?
2. PATH: What is your path for re-engaging with your church family?
If you have not returned in person to worship, your path may be to attend the 11:00 AM service with more space for distancing. If you’ve not been in person with a small group, your path forward may be to attend an outdoor social distance to gathering with a small group. Or your path may be to simply pick up the phone and call a friend from church to connect for a few minutes. What next step might God be calling you to take as you strive against the pull of fellowship lassitude?
3. PACE: What is your pace for re-engaging with your church family?
Simply put, when will you take this next step?
Taking a few minutes to write down your answers to these three questions may be the most significant steps of faith you take today.
Remember our enduring Savior
And through these trying days in which we walk, don’t forget you are not left to walk alone in your weariness. Jesus has gone before you as an enduring Savior. He endured hostility against himself for the very purpose that we would not grow weary or faint-hearted in our journey as disciples (Hebrews 12:1-3). We shouldn’t be surprised we face such weariness. Our Lord knew we would feel weary sometimes. Looking to his enduring strength and gracious promises, let’s strive forward in community together—even when we don’t feel like it.
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.” Hebrews 12:3
Click here for Crosspoint’s Phase 3 Gathering guidelines.
For further insights from the Bible on the struggle with lockdown fatigue, check out Pastor Jason’s sermon, “Post-Pandemic People,” on 2 Corinthians 12:11-13:4, preached Sunday, March 21, 2021.
Peterson, Andree Seu. “Lassitude: Lockdown Fatigue is Hard to Break Out Of.” World Magazine. March 27, 2021. https://world.wng.org/2021/03/lassitude.