2020 was a crazy year. Pretty much everyone’s plan for the year was shot deadline by Covid-19. Everyone was affected by it in some manner. Some experienced loss of income, some loss of home, some loss of family members and some loss of relationships. In times when we’ve needed to be around others for their support and encouragement, we’ve had to face the hardships alone. Churches, businesses, restaurants and places where we gather with others we’re all shut down. Gallup did a poll in November, like they do every year, on mental health. Almost every demographic showed people’s mental health ratings go down and the total population reached a new low. However, people who attended church regularly, were an outlier. They did not show decline in mental health.
Churches had to get creative in providing ways for us to gather this year because of all the requirements and guidelines. On one of the first few weeks of the shut down, almost every church used Facebook Live to air their services. I remember it overwhelmed their system and they couldn’t handle the amount of videos. Small groups began to use Zoom in order to meet. For Easter, families were encouraged to dress up and join live streaming services in their homes with families. Just like the Early Church, people began to gather in homes instead of buildings. The Church in essence went back to its roots this year and provided connection for people when everything else in their lives was disconnected. Pastors understood the importance of finding ways for people to meet safely, whether virtually or in person, because we were created for connection and relationship.
I heard Hebrews 10:25 quoted several times this year. It says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near” (NLT). Whether you assemble virtually or in person, you need to be getting together with other people and encouraging each other. Clearly this has been a mentally tough year on people. God’s design for you to be connected to a body of believers was built to withstand Covid-19. He provided a vehicle in the Church for believers to meet and stay connected throughout the centuries. It has survived persecution, pandemics and people who have tried to stop it. If you are one of the ones who feel like your mental health has declined this year, let me encourage you to get connected to a church and attend regularly. You will find hope and people who will love you and encourage you.