Easter celebration stories from across the Converge movement
Converge Content Specialist
Hosting a drive-in service in a high school parking lot. Recording a virtual sunrise service at a farm. Using online technology to share the gospel with more people than ever before.
These are some of the unique and creative ways Converge churches used to proclaim the good news of Easter this year amid challenging circumstances created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are celebration stories from churches in Ohio, Virginia, Illinois and Missouri:
New Hope Church
On Easter Sunday, Triway High School let New Hope Church use its property to host a drive-in service. The school’s parking lot was nearly full as the church and community came together to celebrate Jesus.
With the worship team and pastor Tim Broughton stationed on the roof of the high school, the church broadcast the music and sermon into people’s car radios with an FM transmitter. New Hope also livestreamed the service on its website, YouTube and Facebook for people who did not feel comfortable attending the drive-in service.
God showed up in many ways as people filled out online connect cards — saying yes to Jesus and rededicating their lives to him.
“It was so fun being able to ‘be together’ and having everyone honk their horns in praise and joy over their Risen Savior,” said Broughton’s wife, Nikki, director of connections, women’s and kids ministry. “Definitely a first for our church and a first for our schools and community.”
Virginia Hills Church
Front Royal, Virginia
Filmed in a beautiful outdoor setting, Virginia Hills’ virtual sunrise service for Easter Sunday morning had the church’s largest online audience ever. Also that day, the church celebrated Eric Reploeg’s fifth anniversary as pastor. Church members sent in nearly 30 minutes’ worth of video messages, many of which were included in the Sunday morning livestream.
In lieu of the church’s annual Easter egg hunt, the Children’s Church director put together goody bags, a personal note and coloring pages and had them delivered by ministry workers to students’ homes.
Redemption Bible Church
Mount Prospect, Illinois
Pastor Ashley Herr said his team knew they weren’t emotionally prepared to lead an exciting, energy-filled worship service like a normal year. Instead, the church focused on The Hope of Holy Week, starting with peace as The Hope of Palm Sunday.
Then each afternoon, the church hosted an interactive service of shared reading and prayer over Zoom, concluding with its Good Friday service. Sunday’s theme was the hope of life and freedom we find at the empty tomb in The Hope of Easter.
Herr said the church spent much of the week talking about how we are all grieving the loss of various things and stressing how we should acknowledge and talk about those emotions rather than hide them.
Grace River Church
St. Peters, Missouri
Six people texted that they said yes to Jesus during Grace River’s online Easter services, and the church had its highest online attendance ever.
“We are connecting with an atheist, a universalist, former Jehovah’s Witnesses and so many more people than ever before,” lead pastor Chris Highfill said.“We feel that the COVID-19 crisis has given our church for more influence in our community than ever.”
Grace River is also meeting needs in its community. So far, the church has helped 30 people with food and other items.
Michael Smith serves as Converge’s content specialist. He has nearly two decades in the newspaper publishing industry. Michael worked as a copy editor and designer for the Tampa Tribune for more than a dozen years. He also was a member of the editorial staff of Florida Baptist Witness and other publications across the Southeast.