MIAMI— While the number of positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Florida and church buildings sit empty in keeping with social distancing guidelines, church leaders are finding creative and unique ways to stay connected, disciple and evangelize.
Churches continue to jump on live streaming technologies like Zoom and Facebook Live to keep doing church, but for Easter, some are taking it a step further to bring the Gospel to as many people as they can.
Summit Church in Homestead will broadcast its Easter service over FM radio from a trailer bed to cars parked on the church’s property.
“Meeting for Easter is not something that is necessary during this time, as much as it is something that we are longing to do,” said Alex Pecina, Summit’s pastor. “It’s hard to see people’s faces and not hug them but this is an opportunity for us to close the distance in a safe way.”
Normally, parents discourage their children from using electronics during worship, but this year is different.
“We are not handing out anything. Instead, we’re encouraging parents to bring headphones, tablet, or phone for their kids to tune into their age-appropriate programming.” The curriculum, he added, is a free resource from Orange curriculum service at www.thinkorange.com.
The Grove Church in Titusville is delivering DIY Easter packets to its members. The packets include coloring pages for the children as well as yellow yard signs inviting neighbors to tune in to the church’s website to watch the Easter service. Through social media posts, church leaders also are encouraging members to “chalk their walk” by writing messages inviting neighbors to tune into the church’s Easter service and other services online.
Love Unlimited Church in Little Havana is also thinking outside the box for Easter during this COVID-19 world. The church is webcasting its worship services and asking for feedback from viewers.
The church has created a simple webpage- www.loveunltd.com/yes –where viewers can fill out a short form to let the church know of their decision to accept Christ as Savior. Immediately after submitting the form, new believers receive an email with a short devotional and a day after, an invitation to pray one-on-one with the church’s pastor, Mark Rodriguez.
“I’m doing more ministry than I’ve ever done before,” said Rodriguez. “It has been a great opportunity to be able to minister to our people and others through this.”
To continue discipling members during this time, Love Unlimited has been doing small groups every night which they call “socials.”
Additionally, a couple of members have tested positive for COVID-19 and the pastor has been using Instacart and Uber Eats to send them food and groceries.
Rodriguez is also encouraging pastors who did not have an online presence before to go for it. “Forget about how other churches are doing it, don’t compare yourself to other pastors.” Instead, he said, pastors should make a space to record in their home and do it to the best of their ability.
“Whatever you make will be authentically you and your church will appreciate that; they need to hear their pastor’s voice.”