Most churches are full twice a year.
On Easter and Christmas, churches are full beyond capacity, but, this year, every church pew could be empty.
Due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, pastors all over the world are scrambling to find the answers to mandatory social distancing, city lockdowns, and quarantines. Whether it's drive-thru confessionals or services livestreamed on the internet, pastors are bracing for empty seats at their Easter services.
HillSpring Church Pastor Brent Kellogg understands the importance of the religious holiday but also understands why people need to be cautious and safe.
“Easter Sunday is one Sunday that churches put a lot of creative energy and effort into. We typically see a lot of folks that may not be a part of our regular services. It is fun is so many ways. As a team, we already had great plans in motion. But the right thing for our community and the right thing for us to do is lead by example, deal with the crisis at hand and wait to celebrate Easter when we can do it safe for everyone,” Kellogg said.
Numerous churches around the world are using technology to spread God’s word, and services are available online and can be viewed at any time.
Rusty Gunn, the pastor of Church That Matters, said it’s normal to think about not having Easter in a church setting. Gunn’s church was founded on small groups. The church originally focused on their house churches, and they were never going to meet as a large group until the small groups grew, encouraging them to meet as a church body.
“Well, our set up was kind of different in that we were going to originally just do house church. So, yes, in a sense, we had originally thought we would do Easter just in house churches, anyway,” Gunn said.
But now, Church That Matters meets at their brick and mortar church, and they have two services every Sunday. CTM streams their services online each week, and Easter will be no different.
“It won’t be the same as a normal Sunday,” Gunn said. “Depending on the (Center for Disease Control) guidelines at the time, we will have some different things going on.”
This year, Church That Matters decided to go back to old way of doing things.
“We have already made the decision that Easter will be House Church, only, with a livestream worship encounter for them. If we can’t gather in groups of up to 10, it will be Easter worship for families through livestream,” Gunn said.
Kellogg said that HillSpring will also livestream a service on Easter Sunday.
Both Kellogg and Gunn agreed that Easter can be celebrated anytime of year, and the actual date of Easter is arbitrary.