Pastors must find news ways to keep church communities together

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Holy Week is a time of devotion leading into the Easter holiday but these days, pastors are challenged with finding new ways to deliver God’s word to their congregations. Pastors are working hard to keep their church communities connected, despite being physically separated, during Holy Week. Easter is a time to gather and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.

“The hope of Jesus coming back again one day to make things new,” said Desert Springs Church Pastor Ryan Kelly.

However, this year, many pastors will be delivering their messages to a camera instead of a congregation. “If you told me six weeks ago that we wouldn’t be having any Easter services at our church, I would think ‘what on Earth? How is that possible?'”

Pastor Kelly said his church moved their sermons online a month ago. He said the toughest part as a pastor is being separated from his church family.

“When you are used to being with these people week in and week out, sometimes multiple times in a week, and then it is just cut off, it pulls on your heartstrings,” Kelly said. “You miss them. You want to see them.” Calvary Church pastor Nathan Heitzig agrees.

“It is incredibly difficult because if you think about it, for the past 2,000 years, the center of the church was bringing people together on Sundays for services,” Heitzig said. “When you take away the number one thing people associate with church, you really have to think outside the box.”

Pastors said this unusual time has forced them to innovate Holy Week and Easter by making podcasts, online daily devotionals and more.

“In some ways, we are becoming more deliberate and thoughtful and ironically, we are going back to some older ways we used to communicate with people like picking up the phone and writing a letter,” Kelly said.

Pastors said it is a way for them to continue to connect. “I think there is a good opportunity for us to realize we weren’t as in control as we thought we were and put our trust in the Lord afresh,” Kelly said.

Desert Springs will have an online Easter service on Sunday and Calvary is doing a drive-in service in their parking lot. Desert Springs said it plans to continue to suspend in-person services at least through the end of this month.

New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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