Holy Week and Easter Ideas During a Pandemic 

As we all try to navigate doing church during a global pandemic, here are our top suggestions for planning your Easter services.

The key to anything done online or virtual is to consistently ask how your actions, as a team, are blessing the community.  This is best done by asking questions like "What does our community need right now?", "How can we best serve our community while adhering to social-distancing orders?", "What part of our Easter plan is going to be about blessing other people and sharing God’s love?"

Begin crowdsourcing as many elements as you can of your Easter service. Make sure you have a system for digitally collecting people’s contact information so that you can follow up. And finally, and most importantly, preach the gospel. The fact that Easter will be digital this year means there are fewer barriers than ever to people going to church on Easter.  If they decide to tune in to your service, make sure they’re hearing the message of Jesus.

Here, you will find tons of ideas and resources for putting these suggestions into practice, as well as ideas for kids and families, promoting your Easter services, and celebrating Holy week.


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Please note:
These are suggestions, crowdsourced from our amazing online community and complied from a crowdsourced document created by churchmarketinguniversity.com  As you know, the situation regarding COVID-19 changes on a nearly daily basis. We urge you to make every effort to follow all the most recent guidelines issued by our Bishop and by national, state, parish, and local authorities.   


 

Observing Holy Week

 

Going digital doesn’t mean you can’t observe Holy Week.  In fact, it means that many of your people are more available to join you.  Here are some ideas for commemorating the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus all week long.


Communion


Not all of us will choose to respond to the sacramental needs in the same way, but we will do so in light of the covenant that we have taken and the communities that we have been empowered to lead.

 

Virtual Communion Tools and Tips
 

  • Here's a previously released document that shares more about online communion, which includes liturgies written by Reverends Lane Cotton Winn Juan Huertas.

  • Give people instructions for how to make their own communion bread in preparation for your services.  Consider shipping them a bottle of grape juice.

Palm Sunday
 

  • Leading up to Easter, creating a devotional beginning on Palm Sunday that discusses the meaning of Good Friday and Easter for Adults/Teens /Kids.

  • Do a virtual palm processional.  Send out a template for “making” palm branches at home, then instruct kids to make them & take pictures and video of them having their own parade in their yards or homes.

  • Send invitations to neighbors to participate in the “palm waving” from their front porch.

  • Post pictures and videos to the church FB page
     

Passover/Seder
 

  • Produce a video or social post explaining the significance of the Passover in the context of our Christian faith, and how to recognize/celebrate the Passover at home.

  • Post a recipe for unleavened bread that families can make together at home.  

  • Host a live Seder Dinner from the pastor’s dining room table & have the family explain the parts of the meal.  Let people know what’s needed beforehand so they can celebrate at home, too.

  • Create a worship medley or watch party so you can have a time of worship together from their homes.


Maundy Thursday
 

  • Have a virtual communion service, using the suggestions above.

  • Create an online, live foot washing service.  Have the pastor talk about the significance of foot washing and Maundy Thursday, while people watch and wash each other’s feet at home.
     

Good Friday
 

  • Provide a Good Friday devotional in the morning, followed by a gathering on Facebook at a predetermined time.  Because of COVID-19, we don’t necessarily have to keep our Good Friday service times to the lunch or evening hours.

  • Email a devotional, craft idea, activity pages to your congregation and invite them to share theses with friends and neighbors. 

  • Before the service time, ask people to send in their thoughts (or their kids or teen’s thoughts) on Good Friday and include them in the service.

  • Create a reflective service by hosting a service with songs and reading devotionals on the sayings of Jesus on the cross.  You can use this order of service as an outline:

 

Read about two of Jesus’s sayings from the cross.
Sing
Prayer + dismissal / 10 minutes for people to greet each other and share in the comments.
Sing

Read the remaining devotional

Sing

Read two more devotionals on Jesus’ sayings

Sing

Read two more devotionals on Jesus’ sayings

 


Creative Sunrise Service Ideas
 

  • On Easter Sunday morning, host a FB Live sunrise service from your yard/balcony/front porch and encourage others to head outside as they watch. Use a simple equipment set-up (even just your phone), and plan a quiet time of Scripture, music, and reflection against the backdrop of an actual sunrise. 
     

Crowdsourcing your Easter Service
 

  • Do a virtual Easter dance montage. Sending out the song and dance moves for families to learn, and have them send their videos back in to be put together and played on Easter Sunday.

  • Do a “Show and tell/talent show” style Easter service.  Pre-record or ask people to send in their submissions and edit them together to create an Easter Sunday video for your service. 

  • Do an “Easter's best” photo contest. It gives the family a reason to still dress up (or at least dress up their kids). Collect email addresses and give a prize (or a few prizes). 

    • Use different categories if you offer multiple prizes: dressed up, dressed down, pets, etc.

    • If you go the generosity route you could donate $1 (or whatever) for every submission or every social share...

  • Have kids tell the Easter story.  Here are a few variations:

    • Send parents 3-5 questions for them to ask their kids about the Easter story, with a link for uploading videos of their interview to a dropbox or Google folder.  Then, have someone from your church who’s good at video editing sift through and create a video from their responses. It’s a nice way to transition between your online worship and message, naturally sets your pastor up to tell the real Easter story, and, best of all, gets families excited and involved in your service, even digitally.

    •  Have parents record their kids talking about what Easter and Jesus mean to them. Short clips. Then edit them all together to make a video.

  • Create a testimony video.  Here are a few variations:

    • Reach out to a handful of families and ask them to share in 60 seconds or less about God's provision and what Easter means to them. Have each family record their own videos and compile them together.

    • Ask people to film themselves explaining how Jesus changed their life in 1 min and send it to you.  Then, create a testimony video using the clips.

    • Ask people to take a picture of themselves or their families watching online in the weeks leading up to Easter, hashtag and post on social media. Then, use the photos in the preservice countdown time before service begins on Easter Sunday. 

  • Create an Easter skit.  Send the kids their lines, and have parents video them acting them out.  Then, put them all together to create a video.

  • Get parents to send in videos of their kids saying a bible verse from the message, then put them together.
     

Digital Connect Cards

 

One of the best parts of doing services online is that it allows you to keep your next steps native to the platform.  Here are some suggestions for using digital connect cards during your services:

  • Start the LIVE and in a fun way, and also strongly encourage EVERYONE to leave a comment. That is your attendance/roll call.

  • Then encourage a next step of filling out your “Digital Connect Card”. Create a google form with 4 simple questions: Name, Email, Phone Number and Prayer Requests. 

  • Then use your Facebook Insights as your high-level metrics. Reach, views, etc.

  • Another option would be to encourage people to use keywords as comments during the live. Then use your hospitality team to follow up. For example, you could say, “If you are new just type connect in the comments. We’d love to reach out and get to know you.”

  • You can follow-up with anyone using keywords after the live and reply with a comment. Then look for the “message” option and send them a message from the page. You could thank them for attending and include a link to your digital connect card via Messenger.
     

Promoting your Easter Services

 

Physical Promotion

  • Get yard signs printed that your people can put up in their neighborhoods with hope-filled Bible verses and/or an invite to Easter online.

  • Put up a banner on your church’s property inviting people to celebrate Easter online with you.
       

Digital Promotion
 

  • Solicit short videos of Easter invites from your people, then compile them together to make a promotional video that you can post on social media, use in ads, etc.  The beauty of crowdsourcing is that it makes it a little more fun for your people to share and invite their friends when they appear in the invite video.

  • Do an Easter photo challenge & have people tag your church in their photos.  You can use fun prompts like:

    • Take a picture of your reaction if you found the empty tomb.

    • Post your family reenacting the resurrection scene.

    • Tag us in a #throwback Easter photo

    • If you have connections with local broadcasting stations, brainstorm ways to get the Easter message out through those channels, too.

  • Use Facebook photo frames.

  • Have everyone from your church post pictures of their view of the Easter sunrise with the caption “Christ the Lord is risen today” and your church’s Easter hashtag.

  • Do an Easter-themed Tik Tok challenge for the teens in your church.

  • Send an email to members and attenders with an email template for them to use to invite neighbors to watch the Good Friday and Easter Services.

  • Download an example of a door hangar
     

Follow-up
 

  • Use a system like Text In Church that will allow you to 1) automate parts of your follow-up process and 2) let people text keywords to get started.

  • Consider doing a virtual welcome party via Zoom for people who are new to the church, and a virtual hangout for people who want to ask questions about the message.

 

Other Easter Service Ideas
 

  • Consider using a talk show format with video stories and interviews throughout the service.  This can be a powerful way for your church to show what life with Jesus is like.

    An easter egg hunt package to assemble and enjoy at home, courtesy University UMC in Lake Charles.
  • Integrate hidden details into your service to help keep kids (and families) entertained:

    • Have Easter eggs in different spots throughout your service, and encourage kids to count how many they see.

    • See if people can spot the hidden details you’ve woven into your service and make a downloadable fill-in-the-blank style pdf or bingo board for families to cross off during the service.

  • Use a Zoom webinar and stream to Facebook Live during the worship time, so that you can all sing together.

  • Go live during your Easter breakfasts at home for a time of fellowship.

  • Have a way for people to submit prayer requests- through Text In Church, Facebook messenger, or even a phone call.

  • Host an “Easter Sing,” where everyone from your church goes outside at the same time and sings, “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” or another Easter song.

  • Mail kids Easter activity packets they can do during your Easter service or provide printable activity pages online.

  • Create a live, interactive scavenger hunt for families to do 30 minutes prior to your Easter service kicking off.

  • Do something low-key and digital for now, then plan to celebrate Jesus’ resurrection in person once you can all be together again.
     

Kids / Family Activities
 

Wanting to plan something special for the families in your community and church this Easter, but not sure how to do it while maintaining social distancing?  Here are some ideas- some revolve around doing a viral-free egg hunt, others are not.
 

Egg Hunt Ideas
 

  • Provide emailed activity/drawing pages for kids that could be shared virtually with friends and neighbors.  

  • Create a virtual Easter egg scavenger hunt that leads to a special landing page or multiple pages if designed like a choose your own adventure. Have people leave comments along the way.


Kids Ministry / Family Activities
 

  • Do a digital stations of the cross.

  • Create digital resurrection eggs or mail kits so that families can create their own resurrection eggs at home.

  • Have families and children submit Easter artwork and create a virtual gallery on your Facebook page.

  • Instead of having an in-person photo booth, have people send you Easter selfies & mail them printed, framed photos as a gift.

  • Host an egg decorating contest online or a virtual gallery.

  • Ask the kids to decorate their sidewalks and driveways with Easter messages written with sidewalk chalk, and have their parents take pictures and tag the church.

  • Create a virtual, multi-day Easter challenge for kids where you share part of the Easter story and kids submit a creation (legos, drawing, songs, skits, etc.) that goes along with it.


    Download Now

Please note: These are suggestions, crowdsourced from our amazing online community and complied from a crowdsourced document created by churchmarketinguniversity.com  As you know, the situation regarding COVID-19 changes on a nearly daily basis. We urge you to make every effort to follow all the most recent guidelines issued by our Bishop and by national, state, parish, and local authorities.   


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