NEWCASTLE, Wash — The parking lot is empty at Seattle Revival Center, even on Sunday. But the virtual pews are full, thanks to Lead Pastor Darren Stott and his very creative team.
"We had to reinvent the way that we do church," said Stott.
When Pastor Stott learned that, due to the pandemic, his congregation could no longer gather in person, he decided to put on a show.
"We had three days to plan an online service," Stott said, "So we had to go from being a church to an online church."
It’s a slick, family-friendly production.
"We wanted to have a service that was fun for all of our kids and parents watching at home."
They produced a streaming Sunday service that looks more like an episode of Saturday Night Live, including live music, and a news update segment from the church’s communications director, Faith Tsuruda, along with a special guest puppet, Sally, who helps demonstrate proper hygiene for the kids watching at home.
Stott said, "Sally keeps us laughing. And I think when we’re able to laugh at something, it’s less intimidating."
The first video service has been viewed more than 4,000 times. Not bad for a church that seats 350 people.
"It really went over well," Stott said.
They’re already hard at work on the next one.
"You can have that sense of community even if you can’t gather in a building," he said, "This whole thing could actually be an incredible opportunity for us as a church, to break us out of whatever boxes we’ve been in without even knowing it."