Our busy lives are filled with so many distractions that we often need to be reminded to just put down our phone. But that little device you hold in your hands has a tool that can be used to reach out and encourage each other.

In the church as we pursue community through small groups, establishing a text thread is a simple tool that can help us stay connected and growing together.

On my phone, I personally have at least six active threads and I’ve named each one to keep them clear and easily found. One is called Prayer. In this thread are women who will pray when asked and know I can be counted on to pray for them as well. This thread isn’t cluttered with funny memes or links to whatever happens to be trending online. This group is specifically for sharing our spiritual needs, asking for prayer and godly wisdom. We don’t see each other as much as we may have in the past. We were locked down, we were being careful, and we were busy redefining our lives. But I would be lost without these women. We are here for each other in every season.

I have a thread for each group study I’m in. We share what we learned that week in God’s Word, we exchange insights and ask questions, and again, we pray for each other.

Then there’s a very active thread I like to call Inner Circle because it’s a much smaller group. This is the intimate group of priceless women I can say anything to and know I will get honest, righteous feedback. No pretention, no drama, and definitely no egos. I’ve laughed and cried with each of these women through many seasons of their lives and mine. I have rejoiced in their celebrations and cried with them in their losses. There is no one in that thread who isn’t  invested in my life and I in theirs. God has knit us together. I don’t think  words can fully describe how much I truly value them as sisters in Christ.

I have smaller threads, one or two women that I love dearly and use my phone to stay connected when time and distance don’t allow a face-to-face connection. It’s an ongoing thread with no goodbyes or periods at the end of rambling sentences. Just an endless conversation that means so much to us.

Now I share  all this not to sound exclusive. I want to encourage each one of you to see the value of using our phones, not simply as a source of distraction but as a tool for meaningful connections and ministering to each other.

Start simple. Think of one woman that you know through church. Just one. Reach out and ask if she would be interested in starting a thread for prayer. She may also have one person in mind. So now you have three or four, and that’s a good group! Start with a daily scripture verse, share a prayer request or an insight the Lord has given to each of you. Let the relationship grow. You will find such blessing in watching what the Lord does within your group as He forms a more intimate unity between each of you.

Keep in mind, there is much needed confidentiality required to create a safe space for women to share and pray together. Don’t break that trust. Guard this space. Allowing gossip or idle talk will damage the purpose of the thread and hinder the Lord’s blessing within your group.

Be understanding if a woman says no to your invitation. She may not be able to give time to this relationship now, or she may not understand your purpose. Just ask, pray, and then see who God places in your thread. It will be worth the effort. God knows your heart and relationships are important to Him.

If you have one of these threads already, share your comments below on what you’ve learned or how you’ve been blessed with this way of communicating.