Weeks ago, churches began to discuss the possibility of having to “cancel” their Easter services and events. But as Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says, “The pandemic curtails assembling but not the celebration. You can’t cancel the resurrection!”
In a recent town hall interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Warren discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the Easter holiday.
As a global church with more than 180,000 members on its rolls, Warren shared that Saddleback Hong Kong was near the epicenter of the pandemic and moved to online services back in January. He was prepared to do the same in the US. “This is Saddleback’s 34th national or international crisis,” he said. “It’s not something churches should fear.”
Social Distancing Doesn’t Stop the Church
In fact, Saddleback’s normal weekend attendance of 35,000 jumped to an online attendance of 60,000 two weeks before Easter, and to 120,000 the following week on Palm Sunday. With shelter-in-place mandates, Easter Sunday will undoubtedly break online viewing records for the megachurch, of course, but it may also break general attendance records for the holy day. Crisis naturally draws many people to God. And this year, more than ever, people need to have their hope restored.
Warren states in his interview that “staying home because of fear also happened on the first Easter. The disciples were huddled in a home behind locked doors for fear of the authorities. Jesus showed up in a home,” he continued, “and I have no doubt he’ll do that this year.”
Despite the challenges imposed by the virus, Warren pointed out that none of the church’s five purposes (worship, fellowship, discipleship, mission or ministry) have been deterred by social distancing, for Saddleback or most other churches in the country. “The Church invented healthcare and hospitals,” he stated, referencing second- and third-century plagues in Rome, as well as the impact churches are having in their communities during the pandemic.”
Saddleback and Vision2’s Giving Platform
Many of those attending online services are experiencing financial impact from the pandemic and won’t be able to make an Easter offering. But Saddleback is ready to receive gifts from whatever percentage of this influx of online participants is able to give.
Saddleback leverages Vision2 for online giving, with a dynamic online giving page that features more than 100 ministry opportunities and a simple giving form. Even with the potential for reduced giving amounts, with so many additional attendees, the megachurch’s Easter offering could end up to be an unexpected blessing on resurrection Sunday.
Vision2 Is Here to Help
Vision2 is a comprehensive giving platform that helps churches connect with their congregation in the same engaging, welcoming way they would in person.
Please contact us if you would like to learn how we can help your church reach its full giving potential. No contract, no monthly fees, and no limits on giving means no limits to your growth.