What will this Easter look like at Converge churches?
Converge Content Specialist
A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds growing confidence among Americans about safely attending religious services. On the second Easter of the pandemic, four-in-10 U.S. Christians say they plan to go to services in person.
Still, this Easter will again look different than it did before the COVID-19 crisis for many churches. But Converge congregations across the country are ready to welcome people and celebrate Christ’s resurrection, whether in person or online.
Church plants celebrating their first Easter
Church planters Nick and Hannah Brzozowski and Anchor Church in Champaign, Illinois, will offer two Easter options — on Zoom and in person. During each hour-long service, they will meditate and interact on the Easter story together.
“We’re going to combine all four Gospel accounts and read through the first 24 hours after the resurrection together twice,” Hannah said. “Each time we read it, we'll have a time of reflection and write down our thoughts on what the resurrection means to us and how the people in the story must have felt.
“We’ll post our notes on a wall so that everyone can read each other’s responses and have communion together. Then, Nick will preach a message about what Easter means to him, present the gospel, and we'll worship together.
“We hope the idea of meditation will appeal to people outside of the church and be something a little different for Easter.”
Pastor Kevin Greene and ConnectUs Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, have built momentum since their grand opening January 31 at Reel Cinemas and are praying for another surge of people for Easter.
The church is doing a Your Yard Egg Hunt outreach event. Instead of inviting people to come to one central location for a big hunt, they will bring the egg hunt to people's yards.
“We think this will be a great opportunity to make a personal and meaningful connection with people, and through this act of service, we will be able to invite them to our Easter in-person and online services,” Greene said.
Rock Creek Church finally gets to celebrate Easter in its new building
For Rock Creek Church in Prosper, Texas, “there has never been an Easter more anticipated than Easter 2021,” senior pastor Brad Wilkerson said.
After 12 years of being a portable church, Rock Creek moved into its new 25,000-square-feet facility on December 15, 2019, anticipating its first Christmas and Easter in its new facility.
But because of COVID-19, Easter 2020 was an online-only experience. This year, Rock Creek is planning to have five services over the Easter weekend.
“With in-person worship attendance now running between 300 to 400 higher than in-person attendance pre-COVID and with the online campus numbers increasing each week, we anticipate a total Easter worship attendance of more than 3500,” Wilkerson said.
Michigan churches offer indoor, outdoor and online options
Converge Community Church in New Buffalo, Michigan, and Sawyer Highlands Church in Sawyer, Michigan, will give people multiple Easter options.
“Weather permitting, we hope to have our Easter service outside at Sawyer,” said Rob Nash, campus pastor at Sawyer Highlands. “That will give people options. They can wear a mask or not.
“If they would rather wear a mask and be inside, they can attend our Converge site or join us online. We are so excited to gather and celebrate the greatest event in history: the death and resurrection of Jesus.”
Learning from the past, looking to the future
For Valley Community Baptist Church in Avon, Connecticut, “Easter 2021 will be a significant step forward in combining the best of what we did pre-COVID with what we've learned since,” said senior pastor Rob O’Neal.
“Our 2020 Easter services were entirely online and filmed ahead of time. It worked, but it was distant. This year, we’re excited to have two Good Friday services, livestreamed for the first time, as well as four Easter weekend services with in-person attendance and an in-person kids program. Three of our Easter services will be livestreamed on two platforms and will include baptisms.
“As part of our Next Generation emphasis, which is new this year, we had a special outdoor Easter party for families the week before in our parking lot. This outreach event allowed us to give guests a response step they could take that very next week by attending an Easter service in person or online.”
Tapestry Church goes all-in online
In Oakland, California, Tapestry Church is doing Easter as big as it can while still meeting exclusively online. It all starts with Good Friday when they host five other churches on its website for a 7 Last Words service, featuring each of their pastors as speakers.
“It’s one of the ways we live into God’s reality that we are better together,” pastor Kyle Brooks said.
Then on Easter, they are producing some original music plus live performances by worship leader David Sovereign.
“But what we’re most excited about is baptism,” Brooks said. The church will baptize a member in a prerecorded event before Easter. Tapestry will show that video during its Easter service.
“We're excited and hopeful that people will be inspired to take their next steps of new life this Easter,” Brooks said.
We want to hear how your Easter service went. Tell us about baptisms, people trusting in Jesus and anything that shows God at work. Send us your stories and photos.
Michael Smith, Converge Content Specialist
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.