KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Churches across the metro say they are still following guidelines from Kansas Department of Health and staying digital.
Pastors are opting to refrain from hold services Easter Sunday amid COVID-19, instead choosing to broadcast their services online. Pastor Andy Schelling at Open Door Baptist Church said the online services are actually helping his church grow.
“It’s a whole new paradigm for church. How do we do church like it’s never been done before? So we are looking at this as an opportunity to reach people we wouldn’t normally,” Schelling said. “For instance, for Easter, we would normally hand our invites for people to come to church, but this year, we’ve gone completely digital. I think we’ve had 10,000 people see it on Facebook..”
Some Kansas parishioners held their breath Saturday as the state supreme court decided whether groups of 10 or more could meet for religious reasons. Earlier this week, Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order banning the larger gatherings, essentially ending in-person church services. Legislators moved to strike down the order, but the court ultimately sided with the governor. The order stands.
Despite it’s name, Open Door Baptist Church has been closed for weeks. Schelling said he believes this is safest for everyone, especially those in his church who are vulnerable.
“We have some members who are in their mid 90’s. If I told them we were going to open church doors, they would be here, and I would be afraid for them just because of their health,” he said.
Adding a daily devotional to the online stream mix, Schelling said he’s still working towards their church’s mission and reaching a whole new group of people.
“We are reaching out to a whole new group of people who don’t attend church,” Schelling said. “This weekend, we actually had fourteen people who have joined our church [that] we are presenting to the church this week, and twelve of them have never been in our building for a service ever. They have only joined us online.”
His plans are to make the online Easter service memorable and wants to remind people the idea of church is much more than just a building.
The church stream is set for Sunday at 10:30a.m.