2020 started with some corny Vision Sunday message titles. Not your church of course but others. Can I say that? 🙊🙈 Then after taking a peek what was happening in Asia, we touted the possible of churches not being able to gather ‘IRL’. While that was becoming a debate some cities and countries went into lockdown. In an instant the way we (mostly) ‘do church’ was shook. This brought us to an unusual Easter. Taking all this into account I offer some reflections from an unusual Easter.
In reality, it is only one aspect of church life that was shook. And, with that we’re learning that we’ve centred a lot of church life around that one aspect: gathering. Finding out what is happening in people’s lives, happens mostly when we see them. Most of mobilising people to live out their faith has been done from gatherings. And the list goes on.
How Churches Have Responded
Churches’ response to shelter in place orders, has in a general, been encouraging. Because this is anecdotal, my observations are subjective. Many churches have gone on to stream their worship experiences and preaching.
As before, I’d like to emphasise that this doesn’t mean that your church is ‘sorted’. Content and streaming aspects of church life isn’t, in essence, church. It is a small aspect of it.
We’ve done a few COVID-19 related posts and podcasts. For the purposes of this post also check out:
- Church Online Or Online Church Is More Than Streaming
- Church Using Technology During Coronavirus (COVID-19) [Podcast #301]
- COVID Reveals What Your Church Is About [Podcast #302]
Sorry-not-sorry for rabbit trailing.
Besides streaming, who would’ve thought drive-in service could be a thing, but it was for some. Some churches have curated existing resources for family worship.
While doing the above I saw some churches take action in their communities. Some inspired and challenged members to serve their neighbours in a practical way. Others helped provide food and shelter to the homeless.
Some churches have adapted well and others not so much. Some churches have felt ill-equipped to adapt. Because they didn’t have resources to stream, they felt they couldn’t be effective. (I hope this helps someone: remember church is more than a live stream.)
Responses have varied.
The Weird And / Unusual Easter
The (initial) responses of churches to the COVID-19 had a bearing on how some ‘celebrated’ Easter. The buzz at the moment is streaming. This is good, only to a small extent and the very short term. So the churches with streams streamed versions of their Easter experience.
I saw many pastors share behind the scenes photos of them preaching to empty pews. Others shared their makeshift home studios and rigs.
Who would’ve thought soundproofing, lighting and recording skills would be skills needed by worship leaders and pastors. I mean them doing it themselves, that is. We must tip our hats to pastors who’ve been making happen with limited resources.
Virtual Easter egg hunts like this one seem to raise the ante of egg hunts. I hope there aren’t children’s pastors feeling like failures in the absence of a virtual egg hunt.
The Take-aways From This Unusual Easter
I found this Easter a minimal, muted one. Muted in that it didn’t have the Easter pomp, we were becoming accustomed to. Despite that it was one of the weightier ones because there were less lights to distract. How important is the kids egg hunt? Despite many people online, there were fewer Easter family cards than usual.
It may be that some of us got to discover that our church has been losing sight of. I pray many Christ followers got to (re)focus on the profound message of Easter. That there were less distractions for them to sit in sober, unencumbered reflection.
My hope is that we got to focus on what was important. With that I hope we remembered that the significance of Easter transcends festivities.
What were / are your takeaways from this unusual Easter? What do you think it means for Christ followers and churches going forward?