Pastors get creative with in-person Easter services

Recent studies have shown that church membership has dropped below 50 percent for American adults, and the pandemic isn't helping, but church leaders are now spreading new messages this Holy Week.
Epic

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — Recent studies have shown that church membership has dropped below 50 percent for American adults, and the pandemic isn’t helping, but church leaders are now spreading new messages this Holy Week.

“But there’s something magical and powerful about being in this space together,” said Pastor Kirstie Engel, First United Methodist Church. “It’s a sign of hope it’s a sign that we are getting through this together. ”

Local pastors are getting creative to welcome congregations back for Easter. Last year, most churches live-streamed their services as COVID forced people to stay home.

“Last year, the entire church was kind of bummed because, for Easter, we’d plan all these things,” said Pastor Bobby Cunningham, Epic Church. “We’d spent money on advertising. We’d just prepare for this huge event, and then we had to boil it down and figure out how can we do things radically differently.”
Epic Church gave out Easter egg kits in a drive-thru last year.
Now they are giving a new twist for families to enjoy, an Easter egg hunt inside of a bounce house. Kids have 15 seconds to find as many eggs as they can.

Pastor Engel is taking a more inclusive approach, reaching out to those with no church home.

“My aha moment is, first of all, it’s good to be in the sanctuary,” said Engel. “We were not in the sanctuary we were in a space that was offsite so that we could have the best audio and video capabilities so it is still an adjustment.”
She welcomes people of all races, genders, and the LGBTQ community.
“We are a reconciling church and what that means is that we strive to share God’s love to all people,” said Engel. “So what a perfect time to start exploring faith, exploring how we reengage the world again. That’s the type of work that we’re doing here.”

Both pastors say Easter is a time to celebrate life and come together.

“I would challenge people to think about coming out and celebrating because there’s something to celebrate this year,” said Cunningham.

“Some people haven’t been in the church over a year because of the pandemic, but to make your appearance on Resurrection Sunday, that is powerful,” said Engel. “That is one reminder that God is walking with us and this is what resurrection looks like.”

So with vaccines becoming more available, both pastors are excited to share the good news, while social distancing this Holy Week.

Categories: Nebraska News, News