By the time this gets published, facts will have changed. At this time though, not everyone is required to stay at home. Some countries have issued lockdowns. Some states in the United States have issued stay-at-home regulations. And for those of us that have these new rules to live by, Holy Week is going to be very different.
So, I wanted to put together some things to think over if you’re going digital for Holy Week.
Communication & Promotion
I can’t emphasize this enough. Everything we’re doing is uncharted right now. We’re all piecing together what it means to be the body of Christ in quarantine. We’re all working through how our Saturdays, Sunday mornings, Wednesday evenings, and small groups look through the framework of Zoom or Skype. So, when moving forward with Holy Week as digital services, over-communicate. Post exact details multiple times on social media of when and where people can access it. Email the information out multiple times. This isn’t the time to shirk away from social media, email or even a phone call to the members of your church that aren’t as engaged on social media. Reach out. Palm Sunday, Good Friday and especially Easter is a time for us to come together as a church. If that’s not possible, I’m so grateful we have the technology we do to tide us over until we can come together and celebrate, in person, the hope of eternal life.
Let’s be thankful for the tools we do have and use them to the best of our abilities.
To help you design social media graphics for your services, we have a helpful blog here. We also have free social graphics that you can download and use. A great encouraging graphic to post during the week here and social graphics that you can customize for your online Easter service here.
Plan for every scenario
Your wifi/internet isn’t as faithful as God is, so plan for that. If you’re streaming your service, go ahead and record it as well. Plan to post afterward for those who missed it. Or just pre-record and post at the time your service would normally take place. Just plan well. And again, communicate what you’re doing. And, if you’re posting the recording after, communicate when and where that will be as well.
If you’d like more information on how to live stream using EasyWorship, we have a lot of helpful blogs and videos linked below.
- 5 Things You Need to Live Stream with EasyWorship
- Live Streaming & EasyWorship with Social Distancing
- How to Add Song Lyrics to Your Live Stream
- Live Streaming with EasyWorship
- Live Streaming & EasyWorship
- VIDEO: Live Stream EasyWorship To Social Media via OBS
- VIDEO: How to Create Lower Thirds Text (use this for over your video feed)
- VIDEO: How to Create An Announcement Loop (use this before your video feed starts)
- VIDEO: Creating Midi Cues in Playback or Creating Midi Cues in Prime (use this to help augment your worship time)
This is a hallmark of Good Friday services. This is a great time to allow your congregation to get creative. Saltine crackers as the Lord’s body? Absolutely. Grape-berry juice for the Lord’s blood? Let’s do it. Some of us are stretched thin with our budgets and brain space, so let’s give people the grace they need in order to join with us in a community on one of our most sacred of days. And again, communicate that this is okay. Knowing they have a place at the Lord’s Table no matter where they are is an essential truth that Jesus brought to earth.
Don’t overthink it. Don’t think it needs to be grand or the best you’ve ever done. Jesus sees your heart just as he saw the heart of the widow that gave all she had. That’s all we need right now – a heart of worship. Jesus overcame death. That’s why we’re here. Let’s keep that the focus point and everything else will be a-okay.
For those that don’t have the option to live stream or pre-record their worship, you can also make a playlist of worship songs on YouTube (much more accessible) or Spotify (limited accessibility) and send out the link via email, social media and/or text.
Again, Jesus sees your heart. Are you focused on the reason we celebrate Holy Week? On the hope we have because of what Jesus did? Great! Are you listening and responding to what God is telling you in these historical moments? Perfect. Then preach, pastor. Preach from that place of abiding in Him and trusting His voice.
Online giving can be a tough one to filter through. We love this article Outreach did talking about the different options available. One of the easiest ways to do it might be through PayPal. Again, please make sure to communicate the way(s) people can give online very clearly. If you think you’re over-explaining, you’re probably explaining just enough.
If you’re at a point in your knowledge of live stream where you feel like you want to add a countdown before your live feed starts or you want to work on adding sermon slides to your message, we’ve got some great media that’s been made specifically for your live stream. You can go here and see what you can use for your Holy Week online services.
Between the palm branches, the coloring pages and the loss of an Easter egg hunt, going digital might be a bit harder in this category. If you have the capacity, you could deliver palm branches to children’s homes for Palm Sunday, along with coloring sheets with crayons and maybe a few plastic Easter eggs for their parents to hide for them. While digital delivery of coloring sheets is great, don’t forget that not everyone has access to a printer in their home. Just be wise with how you handle the materials (sanitize and/or wash your hands!), deliver (wear gloves) and keep your distance.
For an added resource, this was recommended to me by a friend who used to be a children’s ministry director. I thought it was a great way to include eggs and the story of the resurrection.
Stations of the Cross
If you and your church are used to doing Stations of the Cross every year, there are some great ideas on Pinterest that you can look up and see what would fit best for your congregation. As mentioned before, please keep in mind that not everyone will have access to a printer.
This is major! Because if nothing else, we can pray. And prayer is so important right now. We have medical staff being stretched. We have people isolated. We have sick that need healing. And it can feel like the only thing we can do is pray, but it’s a major thing. So encourage prayer. Post scriptures to pray on social media. Email testimonies of God’s provision to your church. And call those that need comfort to pray with them. We live this life together, through sorrow and joy. We celebrate with others. We mourn with those who are mourning. We pray as a body of Christ commissioned to bring heaven to earth. So what are we waiting for? Let’s pray!