Churches around the country and world dramatically adjusted when the coronavirus pandemic began. Due to safety precautions and social distancing guidelines, churches had to alter their typical church services to be online. Pastor Brandon Hudson of Crosscreek Baptist Church in Pelham, Ala. describes the process for his church as both “smooth and difficult with a very steep learning curve.”
On March 16, Pastor Hudson sent a letter to his congregation explaining that the church would be holding services online only for the foreseeable future. “It became rapidly apparent that the best way to care for each other was staying apart,” recalls Hudson, adding that his immediate pastoral response was to protect his congregation. Even though the church would not be meeting in person, Pastor Hudson, with his wife, Jill, who is also a minister, started to brainstorm ways for the church to stay connected and engaged every day. “We’ve gone from pretty much nothing online to everything being digital,” Pastor Hudson reflects. The Crosscreek Baptist Church team aimed to find a balanced answer to the question, “How do we keep people connected while keeping them a part?” How are they doing this? By offering a Sunday church service that is available each Sunday morning, while also offering online Crosscreek Kids lessons. They have also organized Sunday night Zoom calls for their church youth and adult Bible study participants. The team also posts Crosscreek Connection four times a week, which are short devotionals. He emphasizes that none of this would have been possible without the help of church member volunteers, one of whom had years of experience producing videos for companies like ESPN.
Pastor Hudson credits the church members for being patient and supportive of online services. Overall, he shares that church members have given positive feedback about their online experience, and some things learned and tested during the pandemic will continue going forward. When Crosscreek Baptist decides to hold in person services again, Pastor Hudson shares that they plan to continue livestreaming their services so more people can receive the message, particularly those who may not feel comfortable or able to meet in person. “My primary goal in whatever we do moving forward is that we don’t leave anyone behind.”