The Stations of the Cross are a popular and meaningful way to journey through Lent and Holy Week, and we have created tools that you can use to create a virtual Stations of the Cross experience for your community. Learn more and order here.
We are now in our second Lent and Easter season amid a global pandemic. Pastors and church leaders now have a year’s worth of experience doing digital ministry. And yet, there’s still a challenge to walk through Christmas, Lent, and Easter when people in faith communities have such strong connections with the liturgical seasons.
Last year we asked the Illustrated Ministry Community Facebook Group what they most needed from us for Lent. The most popular request was for family devotional resources for Lent (which we already create, so that worked out well!). The second most popular request was for a “virtual Stations of the Cross.”
Illustrated Ministry has a variety of resources for the Stations of the Cross. Over the years, thousands of churches, schools, and communities have used our Stations of the Cross Coloring Posters, Coloring Pages, and Devotional Guide. You can check out those three products below:
- Stations of the Cross Coloring Posters
- Stations of the Cross Coloring Pages
- Stations of the Cross Devotional Guide
We try to listen to our customers and provide them what they’re looking for, so we started dreaming up what a virtual Stations of the Cross might look like.
Virtual Stations of the Cross
Our Stations of the Cross Worship Videos provide you with everything you need to create a meaningful Stations of the Cross prayer and worship experience. You can create a virtual Stations of the Cross experience this year, but you can also use it in the future for in-person worship gatherings, Good Friday services, or retreats focused on the Stations of the Cross.
These Stations of the Cross are based on the 14 Scriptural Stations of the Cross, which Pope John Paul II introduced on Good Friday in 1991. They are presented as an alternative to the traditional stations and as a way of reflecting more deeply on the Scriptural accounts of Christ’s passion. We have added a fifteenth Station, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus, which you may want to save for Easter or omit altogether.
When you order our Stations of the Cross Worship Videos, you’ll receive the following:
- Liturgical Script: This script guides participants through this virtual experience and accompanies the videos. You can read the script while showing the videos in a live (in-person or virtual) worship service. You can also use the script to create a voice-over (read by one person or many different voices) to add to the videos.
- Worship Videos: These 15 videos feature the full-color Illustrated Ministry Stations of the Cross illustrations with music, sound effects, on-screen scripture, and prompts that directly tie in with the provided liturgical script. We include 15 videos for the fifteen Stations (with background music and sound effects), and two additional videos that include only the sound effects (in case you wanted to add your own background music in, but still wanted the sound effects). If you use the videos for all 15 Stations, your service will run for about 45 minutes.
- Stations of the Cross Reflection Booklet: This booklet is designed as an add-on to accompany the virtual experience. It includes a modified version of the script, with additional space to write notes and reflect. You can give the booklet to participants to enrich their experience of the virtual Stations of the Cross. However, you don’t need to use the booklet for your virtual Stations of the Cross to be a meaningful experience.
- Media Kit: We have included graphics to help you advertise your virtual Stations of the Cross experience on social media, in emails, and on your website and newsletter.
How to use this resource
There are a variety of ways you could use these worship videos. Here are a few ideas we had in mind as we created the Stations of the Cross Worship Videos. We know, from experience, pastors in our community are amazingly creative, and we can’t wait to see all of the additional ways they end up using this resource to create Lenten experiences for their communities.
Zoom Good Friday Service
We imagine many will decide to use these videos during a live worship service, most likely on Good Friday. To give you an idea of what that might look like, our team recorded Station 3 on Zoom, and you can watch it below:
This option allows for the most amount of participation from people in your community. You can have multiple people read the different scripture passages from each Station and potentially have different people read the scripts that go along with each Station. If you run through all fifteen (or 14 Stations, saving the fifteenth Station for Easter morning), this service would run around 45 minutes. In addition to having people go through a guided experience of the Stations of the Cross, you can also provide them with the Reflection Booklet, which they could use during the service, and have for additional reflection after the service is done.
Individual Prayer Experience
Another option for using these worship videos is to take the videos, import them all into your video editing software of choice, and create a custom prayer experience for your community that could be shared on Facebook, used during a Zoom worship service, or premiered on YouTube/Vimeo for your community.
You could also invite people from your community to submit audio recordings of the scripture readings or narrations of the script for different Stations. You could import those voice-overs and use them to create your prayer experience.
This allows you the most flexibility. Whether you want one person or multiple people to read the scripts for each Station, you have the option to go either route. You can also choose to use the background music we provide, or just cut out the audio tracks from the videos, and add in your own background music (perhaps music from your own context and congregation members).
Making a virtual Stations of the Cross worship experience available online for your community allows people to go through the experience whenever it is convenient for them. You could also plan a time to gather together to reflect on their experience with the Stations of the Cross.
Outdoor Prayer Walk with QR Codes
Over the years, we’ve seen churches set up outdoor prayer walks using our Stations of the Cross illustrations. That opportunity is an excellent option right now, as it allows you to create a safe, socially-distanced worship opportunity for people in your community. Below is a photo from one church that has chosen to offer this to their community this year.
One option would be to create voice-overs for each of the Stations of the Cross videos, upload them to YouTube or Vimeo, and then create QR codes that would direct participants to each of the videos and guided reflections. Whether or not you use the full-color poster illustrations (as seen in the above photos), you could create a walking prayer experience for people to experience throughout Lent, especially during Holy Week, as they remember Jesus’ death and prepare for his resurrection.
Why you should use this resource to create a Virtual Stations of the Cross
Engage with your community in a new way
Perhaps you’ve never used the Stations of the Cross with your community. This would be a great opportunity to try something new with your congregation.
One of our editors who reviewed this product wrote the following after reading through the script:
“You all have redeemed the Stations of the Cross for me. Thank you for the solid theology, the beginning with beloved-ness, the beauty of the writing (seriously gorgeous), and the overall pastoral sensitivity the team exercised in the creation of this resource. It’s lovely, and I would totally use it whereas I have been turned off by other presentations of the Stations of the Cross in the past.”
We obviously can’t use this as an official testimonial for the product since it came from someone on our team. But we still wanted to share it with you because their comments meant so much to us and to how we attempted to translate the Stations of the Cross for our community.
Recruit volunteers from your community
Because there are so many opportunities to help lead this Stations of the Cross experience, it provides a wonderful opportunity to involve many different people in creating this meaningful prayer and worship experience. You could invite multiple people to read portions of the scripture passages or even the narrated scripts for the Stations. This could also be a great youth group project for Lent. Invite your youth group to work on putting this service together and allow it to be a gift to the entire church.
Provide multiple experiences with one program
Depending on how you end up creating and sharing your service, this resource could provide you with many different touchpoints for your community during Lent. If you end up creating a 45-minute video/service, you could use it for a Good Friday service and share it live over Zoom. However, you can then make the link available for folx in your community who could not watch it live, and they can watch it on-demand.
You could also create the videos as standalone Stations and release them daily on Facebook or Instagram (using IGTV), leading up to Easter morning.