As churches navigate the Easter season for the second time during the COVID-19 pandemic, connecting as a church is looking different again this year. While some aspects of the Easter celebration may be similar to how they were in 2020, you've also learned a lot this past year and are likely approaching the season in a more unique way in 2021. Here are some tips for navigating Easter this year.
Easter is a season full of hope, but it’s important to acknowledge that this is a difficult time where people are facing a tremendous amount of stress and uncertainty. The pandemic, working from home, homeschooling and caring for loved ones has taken its toll on everyone. Take time to empathize with your members as they navigate the paradox of hope and struggle.
- Create a space in your app that acknowledges the current reality and how your church is handling it, both logistically (services are online, in-person meetings, etc), and emotionally (how members can get support at this time - can they contact a pastor, join a virtual small group, sign up for pastoral care, etc). Learn how to set up your own Virtual Church here.
- Your website should also clearly acknowledge the church’s plan during COVID-19, and particularly for Easter Sunday. Church websites are typically used as a digital bulletin for people who are interested in more information about your church, and Easter Sunday will be no exception. It's important to be clear about what people can expect.
Even though there may not be an in-person celebration (depending on your specific church's Easter plan), invitation to Easter Sunday service is still important! Encourage members to share invitations to your virtual Easter service across social media and amongst their friends. Now, more than ever, people are looking for a community to be involved in.
- Create calendar events for all of your Easter events/services. The aware3 calendar feature allows users to easily share events with others (even if they don’t have the app!).
- Leading up to Easter Sunday, schedule push messages inviting those who are planning on attending your in person service to save their seat and complete a health screening form, encourage individuals to invite a friend to in-person or virtual service, and give a shoutout to the volunteers who helped out with Easter service.
- During your virtual Easter service, invite everyone watching to download your church’s mobile app, create a profile, and fill out an Easter connection card. This will help the church follow up with visitors and help them get plugged in after Easter.
- If you don’t want visitors to have to download the app, use Text-to-Act (part of the Text Engagement Suite) and set up a keyword to kick off the connection card process. For example, tell users, “Text the word Easter to xxx-xxx-xxxx and let us know you’re here!" After they text Easter to that number, they'll receive a link to the form via text.
- Pro tip: create an Easter tag to associate with your Easter Connection Card. That way, you can easily follow up with those people with a push or text.
Think about creative ways to have people participate in your Hybrid Easter service. The cool thing about technology is that it facilitates two-way communication and can help people engage with what is happening in the service.
- Setup an interactive virtual Easter experience using the Interactive Video feature! Interactive Video provides one convenient location to combine your video content at the top of the user’s screen, along with the ability for users to complete linked forms or polls, access notes, or give a gift at the bottom of the screen.
- Use the Chat feature to share reflections about the service and discuss ways people can support one another.
- Use Live Polls to take questions from people who are watching at home and in person. Live Polls provide 100% anonymous feedback and let individuals see others' responses to the live polls in a percentage format! You can even discuss the poll questions and results live during the service.
- Not doing a live stream? Ask people to submit their questions ahead of time, and answer some during the service using a form.
Even though Easter is different this year, there is a tremendous opportunity to meet people where they are, extend hope, and offer community like never before. The truth is, the barrier to attending church is lower now that some people are attending from home. You’re able to reach people who may not ever have attended a service inside the church’s physical walls.
While some of us will physically be with each other this Easter and others will participate in Easter virtually, we can still be with each other in a number of ways. Following even a few of these tips will strengthen your communications and connections as we celebrate Easter this year.
Other ways we can help? Don't hesitate to reach out to our team here.