Support Group Resource: Lockdown Ideas

It's the start of 2021 and the global pandemic has not gone away. Restrictions continue and so does our need to adapt and innovate so we can remain connected to and supportive of one another continues.

While we’re not able to meet in actual rooms for support groups we wanted to suggest 5 ideas of things you could do to encourage connection, to build relationships, send encouragement and have some fun!

1. WhatsApp scheduling

It doesn’t sound like the most fun but what about being a little more intentional in how you use the WhatsApp group that connects all those in your support group? You could try:

  • Check in Tuesdays: asking people how they’re doing, encouraging them to share with one another. Or, to make it a little more light hearted sometimes, what about encouraging people to send an emoji that summarises their day/mood etc.?
  • Funny Fridays: send something to the group that has made you laugh, from a silly meme on the internet to something that’s happened in your family. Encourage others to do the same!
  • Super Sundays: send some encouragement for the week and ask people HOW can we pray for you and your family.

This can help build a rhythm in the group, grow consistency and presence and therefore potentially make it easier for people to reach out on the more challenging days.

2. Virtual coffee and chat

Why not arrange a video call and invite people to drop in and drink coffee ‘together’. You could get people to sign up in advance with the promise of a special delivery before the hang out, and then arrange for a sweet treat to arrive on their doorstep just in time for your call!

In the hang out OR in a group chat (if a video call isn’t what you/others want to do) why not generate some conversation/discussion? The win is connection with other people who ‘get’ it, not the manner you do it in!

From silly to serious, here are some ideas:

  • What are you thankful for at the moment?
  • What is the best thing about your family?
  • What strengths do you bring to your family?
  • What is the funniest thing that one of your children has ever said or done?
  • What is the behaviour that you find most challenging in your family? How do you handle that?
  • Would you rather live without music or TV?
  • Would you rather give up breakfast, lunch or dinner?
  • Would you rather be able to fly or be invisible?
  • What difference does knowing God make to your life, specifically your family life?

3. Doorstep drops

Perhaps you could make up a simple package to leave on the doorsteps of those in your group along with a card filled with encouragement and a reminder that you care? The package could include:

  • Some home baked or shop bought treats
  • Magazines / activity books or sets for the children
  • A movie night pack complete with microwave popcorn, facemasks and more
  • If you’ve got capacity to offer it, why not also include something that ASKS them what help they might need and make some suggestions (in line with what you could do in these limited times!). You could offer:

- A weekly video call with one or all of their children

- Food shopping

- An evening phone call

- Tagging in to help with homeschool.

4. Encouragement from the bible

What about sending out some verses and encouragement once a week or every few days by text, email, or card (or a combination)? Here are 3 to start you off...

Philippians 4: 6 – 7 NIV

Did you know that the calmest place in a hurricane is the eye of the storm? The bit right in the centre? God’s promise is that even in huge challenge we can have peace IN HIM. It might still be stormy, but His peace will stand guard around our hearts if we ask Him. Amazing.

Psalm 100: 5 NIV

What you’re facing right now may not be easy or good, but GOD still is and always will be. Whatever kind of day you’re having, you are loved extravagantly and eternally, and He is a generational working God who holds your children and their children forevermore. Keep going at what God has called you to do – it's an important piece of His eternal plan.

Deuteronomy 31: 6 MSG

You may feel strong today, like you can handle the way life is right now, or you might not. Great news – there's an invitation from God to get close to Him and draw your strength from the deep well that He has. He will NEVER leave you - ever. He will never abandon you - ever. So, breathe deep today. You've got this because of His mighty strength in you.

5. Have some fun

In Nehemiah the people were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem – it was hard work and they were facing opposition and under attack. In this context we find this great encouragement; the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8: 10). Joy in the face of adversity and challenge can be defiant, and it can also be a reminder of life and hope. It doesn’t diminish or ignore the very real challenges, but it can be so helpful as a weapon we deploy as we continue to journey. Here are a few ideas:

  • Try some online games – virtual escape rooms, Taskmaster home tasks or something else. They’re silly, but a great source of laughter!
  • If you’ve got teenagers in your world then the chances are you’ll know all about TikTok. There are some amazing cooking and baking ideas on TikTok, including things you can make in a mug: pizza, macaroni cheese, oreo cake and more! Why not find some of those and try some out together online – you'll laugh whether they go well or not!

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