Open Forum: Does Easter Egg Hunting Belong At Your Church?

Kids love Easter egg hunting, but does that mean we should have one at church? This is an issue our pastoral staff has been working through over the past several years. My first year at the church, I carried forward their existing program called Easter EGGstravaganza.

Check our special page featuring Easter Ideas for Children’s Ministry.

It was a Saturday morning Easter egg hunt that doubled as a massive outreach effort. We did the works – door prizes, crafts, resurrection eggs, and more tubs of stuffed plastic eggs than I care to remember. The event took weeks of planning and a full roster of volunteers to make it happen. We mailed postcards to 500 households with children. The publicity budget for the event was close to the VBS level.

Turnout was great and everyone had a wonderful time. There was only one problem – the event did not meet its goals. No prospects from that group visited our church for Easter. None of the children were enrolled in our Wednesday nightclub program. None of the follow up efforts showed any promise. Six months later all I could show was a mailing list for future ministry events.

That was the end for EGGstravaganza. In fact, we haven’t had any Easter egg hunt since then. For me, it wasn’t a theological decision as much as a programming choice. Our resources are better directed toward events that advance the church’s disciple making mission.

What do you think about Easter egg hunts at church?

Do you see it as a helpful outreach tool? Are you concerned about detracting from the real meaning of Easter? Leave a comment below and join the conversation.

Update: We’ve developed several resources to help you with Easter Egg events and keeping them Christ-centered. To begin, you can watch this video on making Resurrection Eggs. Nicole has written about hosting a “Backward Easter Egg Hunt.” Jen Rhine has developed a Gospel booklet for families to use alongside the traditional event. Or you may enjoy the alternative Easter Poem using M&M’s.


Comments

  1. Nancy says

    I didn’t have time to read all these posts, but my feelings on the matter are this: We only have a short amount of time with the children and their families during any given week to present God’s truth, whereas the children and their families are inundated with the worldly aspects of Easter. Rather than use our precious time doing an egg hunt, we should stick to the the truth of the crucifixion and resurrection and use our time with them wisely. That’s why, as a children’s leader, I never do the egg hunt or use eggs in any way. Some say they are representative of ‘new life’, but why confuse the issue when Jesus is the perfect representative of our new life in Him? If we didn’t have the Easter bunny and eggs, then I’d say, ok. But using the eggs may confuse children about where the ‘world’ stops and their faith begins. Best, in my opinion, to use the truth and not muddy the water, even if it is fun.

  2. Colorado says

    We have solved the problem of egg hunts in our family by creating a new tradition. We now have a search for the Resurrected Lamb. A lamb is hidden and the children follow clues to find it. They love the search and yet we are then able to talk to them about who the Resurrected Lamb really is. Our children (ages 7, 6 and 2) seem to enjoy this hunt much more than they ever enjoyed the egg hunt.

  3. Christine says

    At my first church I decided not to continue their tradition of an Easter egg hunt. There was a huge backlash. When I told the pastor I didn’t do one because there was no theological basis for it, he told me that the eggs were representative of new life, just like the new life we have in Christ. If we are going to eliminate traditions based on pagan symbols and pagan holidays, we’re going to have to eliminate the recognition of Dec. 25 as the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

    Now when I do Easter egg hunts, I put a scripture in each of the eggs (usually there are 10 different scriptures total that can be found among all the eggs), and when we are done with the hunt, the children hear an age-appropriate Easter storybook read to them.

    Each church has to decide what they believe, what their goal is, and what they feel God is requiring of them. It would be nice if we Christians could manage to not judge other Christians/churches if they feel differently than we do. Have a blessed Easter!

  4. Anne Daub says

    we do an egg hunt at our small church:
    1. it is an outreach event to get children there (sometimes I only see some children at this one event); the lesson that day is making a set of resurrection eggs for them to take home (a modified number with “homemade articles like rocks and red material. Every child hears the message of Easter (and handle and touch and sees)
    2. We spend 6 weeks on Easter! I found children who come from families where Christian ideas are not taught need that much time to understand (or begin to) the message of Easter
    3. We never do an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday: we don’t even do it on Palm Sunday because as a church we celebrate with palms, then end with the Lord’s supper. Generally we do it two Sundays before Easter and include a churchwide lunch with sandwiches, easy things. The older children have the responsibility of laying the eggs out in our field: such giggling and smiles as they try to “hide” the eggs….
    4. It is my belief you do need to have some fun along the way with children you teach at church: this is one way to do that. Children who have been in my class for several years, understand the Easter story; I think it is because they hear it in so many different ways: stories, art, coloring pages, learning Bible verses, doing Bible activities, video lesson, making Resurrection eggs, Different children learn in different ways and I ask God to help them understand as I present His story in many different ways.

  5. Linda Brooks says

    I was amazed at how an event like an Easter egg hunt can be so controversial. Our small church organizes a small hunt that takes place after the service. We usually have visitors with young children and it is just something fun for them to do. The plastic eggs are reused every year and the candy inside is donated by church members, so there is no cost to the church budget.
    I think that Jesus instructed us to love God and love others. Pretty simple.

    And for those who are trying to build their physical church through Easter egg hunts… really? I don’t remember Christ instructing us to grow ‘our’ church, but rather ‘His’ church. Maybe this time of fun (from the child’s perspective) with no hidden agenda or judgement, will plant a seed of love that will later mature into a full grown faith in Christ. That small child may never attend your physical church building, but is that the real goal and purpose?

    I think we need to get back to Jesus’ message of love. Remember the religious leaders of Jesus’ day were not happy with the people Jesus hung out with. They were not happy that He was breaking their ‘church’ rules. And those religious leaders thought they were doing the right thing and preserving the Jewish faith. They were full of condemnation and punishing those that sinned. They were trying to protect their traditions, and the laws of Moses. They were all about establishing practices that would show the world that they were good Jewish people, people of God and not of the world.

    Let us not make the same mistake. God has the power to change hearts and thus change lives for the better. It is not our job to protect the message of salvation, but to share it. When Jesus was asked by the religious leaders which commandment (rule) was the most important, he answered to Love God with every part of your being and then to love others. Pretty simple.

  6. Beka says

    I’m surprised so many people made this into a theological issue, and with such poor arguments I might add. I agree that the way the original Easter egg hunt was conducted wasn’t an effective ministry. Good for you for recognizing that. Just because it’s been done in the past or even gets a lot of people to come for the hunt, doesn’t mean that there aren’t more effective ways to minister. Our church actually does the hunt on Sunday morning, just before the service, so people who come to the hunt actually hear the Gospel. I still wonder if it’s worth all the effort and money, though. It seems to me like nearly all the people there are either church members or family members of church members. Good question to ponder!

  7. Elizabeth says

    The way our Lord reacted to the merchants at the temple, will give you an idea of how Jesus would react to His church His bride having easter egg hunts. The Churches that do so are practicing adulterous idolatry. Please pray about this and He will show you how the evil one has used this as a great deception. Be hot or cold do not be lukewarm.

    • Denver says

      I don’t understand how hunting plastic eggs with candy in them is a deceptive trick that the Devil uses. It’s a fun activity that gets younger children involved in the church. If you can name one way that Easter Egg hunting can spiral into a whole church practicing Adulterous Idolatry, you let me know.

      • says

        It doesnt matter what people think. God is jealous. He hates the words of other gods coming out of our mouths (even more their traditions). We rely on scripture to know how he feels about keeping the faith “holy”. If you really want to reach out to people “where they are at” just follow the examples of Yashewa..feed them (literally). Save the eggs for omelets!

  8. Mike Pickard says

    I am part of a small church. We have an egg hunt, cake walk, hot dogs and some jumpies. It’s all in fun for are kids.Before we start though are childrens pastor has everybody who shows up into the sanctuary for prayer. He gives a very brief and simple message about Christ resurrection. We’re just trying to plant a seed. For some, it’s the only message they’ll ever hear.

  9. Rajme Ohna says

    Easter Egg hunt has roots from ancient fertility god practice. It’s a pagan practice. Christians believers should stop the practice.

  10. Jenifer says

    I believe that Easter is a time of reflection and spiritual growth within yourself not of Easter egg hunts. I feel that this is something that a parent needs to teach to their children. Jesus died on the cross not in vain but for a purpose and he wants us to remember him. I really believe all these traditions that Hallmark and retail stores try to make is wrong. This is why I teach my kids the truth that Christmas and Easter is about “Jesus’, God’s son not of Santa Claus and the Easter bunny.

  11. Tisha says

    I feel it’s wrong to have Easter egg hunting at church because it’s something the world do, and it clearly states we as Christians suppose to be not like the world, and different. How can we be different, and not of the world when we are doing the exact same thing the world is doing? What’s setting us apart from the world? Easter is a pagan holiday, and based on senseless theories. I know a lot of churches celebrate this holiday for kids, but why not have it at their home? Are we attending church services to do the will of God from his words or please people? Everything a church does they should have authority from God’s word to do, and the last time I checked there were no authority to hide eggs and do a Easter hunt…..God created the world, and us people and I am pretty sure he was well aware of all the holidays if he wanted us to make this part of the church he would have added it. So sad this has become a part of workshop service at a lot of churches when their no authority from God to do it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2010/apr/03/easter-pagan-symbolism

  12. Nancy Humphreys says

    As a Children’s Leader for over 1o years, I’ve never used eggs in any manner for teaching the children about the resurrection. We only have the children for an hour or two the entire week, and I want to be sure they get the truth without the distraction of secular symbols. At Christmas, they put their gifts at the manger, not a tree. The “churched” kids know the difference. I’m also concerned that those who only go to church occasionally will get a confused message and grow into adults who mix beliefs together according to what feels good.

  13. dgwoodley says

    I’m sure these same people go on and on about how cartoons aren’t real. And they probably have Christmas Trees also but say “that’s different”! I learned about the easter early on and new it was about Jesus. Jesus cracked the grave and we are going to crack open eggs full of sweet goodness. “Oh just taste and see that the Lord is good” and to the pure all things are pure.

  14. Sue says

    I don’t care for Easter egg hunts as a church project either.
    I am thinking about presenting a family night sometime in March. A quick brainstorm…a “March Madness” theme. Take advantage of a national event rather than a monumental Christian event. I’d like to invite a well-known bball camp leader who always has a Christian message for the kids, show the movie Pistol Pete, and have some bball activities. While whole families can attend; this would be a great father son event. (as well as community)

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