Koinonia is an ecumenical community of university students following Jesus in London UK!
The Coronavirus pandemic has brought about so many changes in our lives, some sad or hard and some good and constructive. Moving the university student mission work we do in Koinonia online, during what was a time of real transition for Koinonia, was a huge learning curve and one that came with many blessings as well as the expected struggles.
I’ll admit at the beginning my faith for God to move as much online as at in-person events was small and I felt discouraged by this ‘setback’ in our work. On paper of course God can move online, he’s God, he can do anything! But in practice my assumption was we’d have to work harder for people to encounter God online, that being on a screen would be a barrier to our authentic communication of the gospel.
It’s true we did have to invest in understanding how best to run online events and how to mitigate Zoom fatigue but as people at home connected into events, God met with individuals tangibly, with less to hinder Him and no credit we could claim as our own.
I was really challenged early on in the pandemic by a ‘spirit inspired’ word a friend shared about Jesus healing the centurion’s servant in Luke 7. It’s a familiar passage where the Roman centurion, one who doesn’t know God and has great political authority, shows such great faith in Jesus and in his ability to heal that he says ‘don’t even come under my roof – simply say the word and my servant shall be healed.’ Jesus, impressed by the man’s faith, heals the servant from a few streets away.
This filled me with encouragement and faith that God could and would move in our work online and that being on a screen posed no barrier. We of course now also have the Holy Spirit, there is no reason God cannot stir hearts, bring healing and speak to students himself whilst we meet online. I saw this most tangibly during our online Life in the Spirit Seminar.
The whole course through we’d been running the talks on zoom and hoping that by the time it came to the part of the course to pray for people to receive the Holy Spirit that restrictions would have lifted to allow us to meet in person. Sadly, they did not but this word from Luke 7 had filled me with faith to see God move and we prayed boldly for the women in my small group. They encountered the Holy Spirit and heard God speak to them – it was ever more precious to know it had nothing to do with me – I wasn’t even there! But totally to do with God and His heart for His sheep to hear His voice (John 10).
The following week when we gathered on Zoom again to catch up both the women said they’d found that God’s presence and this feeling of peace surpassing understanding (Philippians 4:6) carried with them into their weeks and had begun to transform their everyday lives. Praise God that he is not limited by Zoom and may my faith be stretched and grown in this season as our lives and daily realities are stretched out of the norm!