“We’re looking forward to what God has in store for us, that we would be able to see many, many people come to know Jesus Christ through this time,” says Greg Serafino, lead pastor of Osceola Grace, a Charis Fellowship congregation in Osceola, Ind.
Osceola Grace is one among many churches who have had to adjust their ministry strategies due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s been several weeks since Charis churches across the United States have chosen to close their buildings and practice safe social distancing in accordance with their state’s stay-at-home mandates. Through creative thinking and God’s provision, churches have come up with solutions to reach the community around them. Here are just a few of the resourceful ideas we’ve seen from throughout the Fellowship.
In the week leading up to Easter, Osceola offered a drive-through prayer option for anyone to come to the church, stay in their car, and engage in prayer from a safe social distance with a church member. In addition, the church provided a drive-in service both on Palm Sunday and on Easter Sunday. The drive-in service allowed families to attend church in person while staying in their vehicles.
“On Palm Sunday, we counted about 65 cars that were here,” says Greg, “it was very encouraging to see that.”
Grace Community Church in Fremont, Ohio (Kevin Pinkerton, lead pastor) also hosted drive-in services on both Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. The church’s Tiffin campus rented a local drive-in theater, which has space for 400 cars. The church set up a platform in front of the movie screen with live music and teaching. Attendees were able to hear the service from a local FM radio station inside their car.
“Our entire staff team, our music team and especially our tech team is striving for creative ideas to keep our church family together,” says Kevin.
The church hosted an additional drive-in service at their Fremont, Ohio, campus on Easter Sunday.
“I truly believe that God will use this unique time in the history of our country to impact people and unleash His church on a world that needs His love,” says Kevin.
The idea of driving-through was utilized at Grace Church’s Bath, Ohio campus (Jeff Bogue, lead pastor) when members were invited to pick up supplies to participate in a three-fold communion at home.
“We just want to see their faces,” says Jeff Bogue.
The church livestreamed a three-fold communion service on Good Friday and those who picked up supplies from the church were able to use them in participation during the live service at home.
Other churches in the Fellowship reluctantly canceled annual community-wide egg hunts. Western Reserve Grace Church in Macedonia, Ohio (Jason Haymaker, lead pastor), found a creative way to use the thousands of pre-filled eggs to reach their community.
The church partnered with their local school district to distribute eggs to more than 1,300 kids. Packages were given out at the high school in combination with the already existing lunch program. Those who are not a part of the lunch program could sign up for packages to be delivered to their home on the Thursday before Easter. In total, 16,500 eggs were given out to nearly 600 families in the school district.
“We want to be able to spread joy to the kids in our community,” says Kim, a member at Western Reserve. “Giving out these eggs is just one way we can show the love of God during this difficult time.”
[Connect:] Has your congregation needed to think creatively during the global pandemic? Send us a note here to tell us how your church is engaging in ministry in new ways. Take a few moments to pray for the community you are ministering to.