On April 12, 2020 many Churches across the world experienced Easter Online. In fact, online was the only Easter experience their Church was able to offer because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Now, two years later, Churches are still offering online services but most have gone back to primarily focusing on in-person services.
As horrible as the coronavirus pandemic has been, one of the best things I believe came from it was that Churches and ministers started thinking outside the box in a way unlike any time before. After all, the main way Churches and ministries were gathering in changed in the blink of an eye. They couldn’t meet in person so they had to think of other ways to minster to people in the community.
And they did! Churches began to record worship, announcements, messages all from home and organized them in pre-recorded services. Zoom became extremely useful where it wasn't being used as much before Covid hit. Student Ministries would do Zoom events to gather children and youth together. Adults began to have life group meetings and prayer times on Zoom regularly. Ministries starting using YouTube for more than just posting sermons and they also discovered TikTok and the potential there. And, the good news about it all was that it was effective. People were continuing to grow in their faith and new people were checking out Church.
Now, years later and it seems like we are back to where we were in March of 2020. In person gatherings are the priority and online ministry is once again an afterthought, often viewed as not an effective form of ministry. But it doesn't have to be this way. We should be moving forward, not backward. In fact, one powerful takeaway from that very first online only Easter service we all experienced was that Churches began to think outside to box in a way not seen every before. We were creative, thought differently and people responded. Even Boomers were on Zoom calls regularly.
The reality is no one wanted to be online only on Easter. But, we were not given a choice. We had to adapt and we did! And, people responded positively. So, why go back to they way things were when we can take what we learned and enhance our ministry?
This does not mean you have to go back to online only. But this is a call to keep thinking outside the box. Keep thinking of creative ways you can minister to people be on Sunday morning. We were doing so good at it in the very beginning of Covid but now it seems that we are more concerned about going back to the way things were, rather than thinking about how we can continue to adapt to best minister to people in our community.
The reality was Church attendance was already declining before the pandemic hit. We won't be able to win people in future generations by continuing to go back to the way things were. This is not about what we teach, but how we choose to teach and minster to people with communication devices and tools that people are already comfortable and familiar with. Technology is not the enemy, it is a tool to compliment in person. Let's continue to adapt and think outside the box, much like how we did in our very first online only Easter service and see what God does in our communities because of it.
What do you think? What else can we learn from our first online only Easter service years ago? Share your ideas below or on social media.
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