Patience, endurance and intentionality.....
We’ve had to summon a great deal of all three this year as COVID-19 has changed the ways in which we stay connected in community and invest in relationships. Zoom has provided a wonderful way for us to be connected while sheltering at home. We will continue to have virtual NCS meetings for the remainder of the year along with Transition Tuesday meetings at the Lodge – providing a “hybrid” meeting for folks on Zoom and in-person for those willing to remain socially distant and wear masks.
As we move into the start of our 16th season this fall, we will continue with patience, endurance and intentionality. Yet I believe the focus will shift to the distinction between staying connected (Zoom, email, phone calls, etc.) and fellowship (showing up in person and loving each other).
Technology will provide a means for us to connect. However, the all-important “fellowship” part of the equation will require renewed attention.
I find it interesting that the COVID-19 disruption has taken place as we begin our 16th year. In researching the Biblical significance of the number 16, I discovered commentary about how “16” relates to love. Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, lists 16 attributes about love - both physical and spiritual. Sixteen, the product of two times eight, is believed by some to represent a doubling of new beginnings, which is represented by eight in scripture. Perhaps we need to reflect on this question:
Are we showing enough love to our fellow NCS brothers, our neighbors or even our family?
In this “season of love”, we will provide an opportunity for small, in-person gatherings at River Birch Lodge each Tuesday in addition to connecting via Zoom. Our Friday Zoom calls will now be broadcast from River Birch as we “reclaim” our Friday presence at the Lodge, a staple since 2005. In addition, we will continue to encourage those online with us to participate in the small group breakouts via Zoom to keep building relationships among our NCS brothers.
Our Thursday NCS meetings will remain virtual and joint events between NCS East and Davie County. Guy Morgan and Kevin Frack, along with the men who join each week, have created a relational space for us to “listen and learn”. The group seeks opportunities for engaging individually to better “love our neighbors” and having the important discussions about race and empowering change in our community – one heart at a time.
Starting this month, we will begin an NCS Happy Hour on the first and third Thursday of each month. It will be hosted by Threshing Floor Farm and Courtney Mauzy (at 4400 Robinhood Road) for the first 25 NCS brothers who register for the gathering each week. This will be a small but intentional opportunity to come together for fellowship....and some good beer!
Additionally, we are looking for opportunities to rekindle Break Bread Winston Salem by having small group dinners and being intentional about inviting people outside of your usual social network - and who might be very different than you. Throughout the Fall, we will look for other opportunities to come together safely for fellowship, including our spouses and special others in these events.
Zoom has allowed us to tap into the relational network which the Holy Spirit has built around our country and world. Let’s all continue to invite new men to join our calls! I anticipate having guest speakers from around the network as well local speakers involved in our meetings.
Who would have guessed how unusual our 16th fall at NCS was going to be? Without the interruption of our normal routines, would we have explored the significance of “16”?
Let us embrace these strange times to refocus our attention on fellowship with each other and loving our neighbors.
I believe that we are being called to increase our focus and intentionality for connecting in community with each other through Jesus. He is calling us to invest in relationships for the purpose of impacting lives with the Gospel and Holy Spirit. By doing this prayerfully and faithfully, by inviting the Holy Spirit to empower us, we will continue to make a difference in our city. Let’s do it.