There’s no doubt that Easter Sunday will look a little (okay, a lot) different this year. For the first time in our lives, Easter Sunday will happen from our houses and apartments, our living rooms and kitchens. As we gather separately but together in spirit, here are some tips for navigating Easter virtually 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. 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, no 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 won’t be a physical meeting, 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!).
- 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, “Text the word Easter to xxx-xxx-xxxx and let us know you’re here!” Users will 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 virtual 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.
- Create a video compilation from member selfie photos and/or video submissions. We love this idea from Grantham Church in Pennsylvania: https://www.facebook.com/granthamchurch/videos/830260487461771/
- Use the Chat feature to share reflections about the service and discuss ways people can support one another.
- Use forms to take questions from people who are watching, and answer them live during the service. Not doing a live stream? Ask people to submit their questions ahead of time, and answer some during the service.
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 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 we can’t be physically with each other this Easter, 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 this Sunday.
Other ways we can help? Please reach out here.