Last Saturday, I witnessed one of the coolest outreach events ever. It was run by kids (mostly) for kids (mostly).
My neighbor and Crossing member, Windy, has been inviting us to a big Easter Egg Hunt they do at a local park for years. She is one of a handful of people I know who has the straight-up gifts of Hospitality with a capital H and Thoughtfulness with a capital T. And, she’s passing those gifts along to her three daughters (ages 6, 12, and 15) as they watch and help her with things like their annual egg hunt. The girls are a huge part of planning the event and executing it, from creating and passing out invites to making the treats for it.
The Easter event itself was only an hour and included about 25 kids this year. The children ranged from ages 1-8 and came from all different backgrounds. I thought I’d share a bit about it in the hopes that some of you reading this might be inspired to organize your own next year.
As we arrived, there were two different craft stations under the park shelter for the kids to jump into as they arrived. Parents and kids mingled as we colored Easter Bunny Wind Socks and glued bunny faces made out of wooden craft sticks and googly eyes.
Next, my three neighbor girls gathered all the kids together and asked them to help tell the Easter Story through Resurrection Eggs. Twelve children were given an egg to open during their portion of the story. The girls took turns reading the meaning of each egg as it was opened (i.e. part of the Easter story) to the young crowd. There is something so sweet about watching the Gospel boldly shared by children to other children (and their listening parents)!
Side Note: If you don’t have Resurrection Eggs, I highly recommend getting them if you have young kids. These plastic eggs are a tactile and fun way to talk about what Jesus did for us at Easter. They can also go along with the book Benjamin’s Box: The Story of the Resurrection Eggs, which we use and my kids love.
Lastly, while we listened to the Resurrection Eggs story, the dads all hid the eggs (each family brought a dozen filled eggs). Little giggles and screams of delight could be heard throughout the playground as the kids raced over hill and monkey bar to find the plastic candy-filled orbs!
As we left, Windy handed us beautifully decorated egg-shaped sugar cookies on a stick AND a brightly-colored frosted cupcake that she and the girls had made. I mean, seriously, what kid wouldn’t love this event?!
A few things struck me about this simple event:
1 – Easter wasn’t separated into just a “secular” event (just the Easter Bunny and candy eggs) or a “sacred” event (just the real Easter story about Jesus). Instead, the real Easter story was seamlessly tied into the “Egg Hunt” theme through the use of Resurrection Eggs. Sharing the Gospel in this way wasn’t forced, but instead made sense during the event.
2 – The reading of the Resurrection Eggs gave Windy’s girls an opportunity to share their faith with others. My guess is that it helped them to grow in their own faith, too. Did they do it perfectly? No. The younger one stumbled over some words in the booklet but no one cared! In fact, it was endearing.
3 – The Gospel was shared in every detail of the event, not just the Resurrection Eggs part. That’s because the thoughtfulness in the details made each child and parent feel cared for. Their family was so welcoming to everyone as they arrived and helped them get involved right away. And, leaving with hand-crafted cookies and cupcakes was the “icing on the cake”, so to speak. The whole event, including these details, communicated Jesus’ love for these families!