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. SG says

    I do not have a problem with having an egg hunt at any time that is not set for teaching, Sunday School, Sunday Morning Worship, Wednesday Night TeamKID/AWANAs. When you tell a parent that their child will be attending a church teaching program and then toss out that teaching program for an egg hunt….then I have a problem. Set up a time for a family event with an egg or some other object (small cross, lamb, stone) hunt, food, games, and other kid friendly things that can happen outdoors or indoors should the weather change. Be sure to send some item home with church info and scripture.

  2. Bobby says

    I want to know what gives any of you the right to pass judgement on anyone or anything. Any event that gets people to church to hear the word of God is a good thing. How the people at the event act makes a big impression on those who attend. Maybe they will choose God. Maybe they will not choose God because of what they see and hear. It should be all about God not items like eggs or their meaning. If egg hunts get them to church it is up to the church to teach from that point. I stopped going to church because all the hypocrisy I saw in every church I went to. What I’ve read I still see the hypocrisy. I started going again because I should not let people interrupt my walk with God even when they claim to be Christian because they attend church. I should not judge them so I enjoy my time at church hearing the word and not what others do at church and the days between. So to some it up. If it gets someone to church do it. It will either reenforce them or make new people attend if it is done the right way.

  3. Carrie says

    I have a different perspective. Any time I can get kids to church to hear the True Story of Easter (or Christmas) while also having fun, I’ve had a successful event. We are in the business of planting seeds for God. The unchurched children who come to our outreach events — be it an Egg Hunt, Christmas Craft Workshop, VBS, or even a Halloween Carnival — may not return for Sunday School and Worship to my church or during my tenure as Children’s Minister. However, that does not mean that they won’t remember that church is a safe and happy place where they experienced God’s love during a childhood Easter Egg Hunt. Unfortunately, the only way we have of measuring our effectiveness is through numbers — how many new families come to church; how many people have accepted Christ; how many people have been baptized; the dollar amount of our stewardship campaign. I have learned to not be discouraged by numbers but to trust God to complete His work in His timing after we’ve planted the seeds of faith in children and their parents.

  4. Erik Trejo says

    Well I came here to expand my knowledge on the subject but after reading I came to this conclusion: use the tools you need to do what God has called you to do.! If you must use the egg hunt then you should planned it in the most effective way guided by the Holy Spirit and not only your emotions, and if you vote against it then be open minded and let the others do as they feel led… And pray for a better understanding as the Lord will instruct you and show you the way.

  5. Kristy H says

    We do the Easter Egg thing, but we’ve developed it into a program that people look forward to attending. We do it on a Wednesday Night in place of our normal Wednesday Night Kids programming. Kids come in, register, and are ushered into the sanctuary where we have high energy songs (that teach Scripture – JumpStart3 songs), Minute to Win It type games, and an object lesson for about 15 minutes. Then the kids are split into small groups where they travel to different stations (this year they will have passports and receive stickers in them that tell the story of Easter). Each station has to do with the Easter Story, too. They will make a cross craft when they hear that Jesus loved them so much that he died on the cross for them, they will play a game where they wrap someone in toilet paper when they hear that Jesus’ friends wrapped him in linen cloth and placed him in a tomb. They come back to the sanctuary where they hear that the tomb was empty and enjoy another lesson, music, etc. They then go hunt for EMPTY eggs (no more filling hundreds of eggs for me!) to remind them that the tomb was empty. After that, they exchange their bag of empty eggs for a bag of candy to remind them that the sweetest part of Easter is that Jesus is RISEN! I hope that all made sense. That’s what we do.

  6. dddemeo says

    Our purpose is that we are planting seeds of the true meaning of Easter to our community. Yes, we are in hope that the follow up will bring individuals to our church; however, the gospel is presented completely at our puppet shows and wrapped up with the Connections pastor making an altar call to receive Christ to all the families.
    We make this an event of activities with an egg hunt as part of it. There is no bunny and the emphasis is continually on the true meaning of Easter. We have over 1000 people on campus that day to connect with.

    I agree, do not judge, but embrace how all effect the kingdom. Children’s Pastor in PA

  7. Kristy Abernathy says

    As I’m searching through the internet to find some ideas on planning an Easter Egg Hunt for our Church’s Chilren I get side tracked in these comments.. For a moment I rethink our plans to have an egg hunt and then it dawned on me!! This is lengthy but it just reminded me of why churches should definitely have an Easter Egg Hunt!

    I was in my mid 20’s living in a state away from my family with my two small daughters where I had moved with my job. For the very 1st time in their life I was not going to be having Easter with my family because I didn’t have the money to make the trip home.. I was an alcoholic to say the least and I woke up Easter morning with a huge hang over and a heavy heart because my kids were not going to have any kind of Easter. I thought all churches had Easter Egg hunts so I got them dressed and set out to find a Church so they could hunt eggs.. For the 1st time in a long time I prayed to God. That he would help me find a Church for them and I drove around the neighborhood looking at service times and people in the parking lot because I wasn’t sure where we would fit in. Finally found a church and we went in.. They seperated us cause we were there in time for Sunday School and in a room full of women teaching about the resurrection of Jesus with a slamming headache I felt nothing to loose to ask questions about how can you really be born again!

    Those ladies circled me like I was a newborn baby and they told me the REAL meaning of Easter that I did not know!! I ask Jesus into my heart that day and was saved! Praise God! But there’s more! When we came out of Sunday School my oldest daughter was standing there with her Sunday School teacher with her and tells me she has good news to tell me.. She told me my daughter had ask Jesus into her heart during their Sunday school!!

    It makes me cry just sharing this but my point is I went to Church that day looking for an Easter Egg Hunt for my kids and I left that day a saved soul along with my daughter being saved!! Funny thing is they didn’t even have an egg hunt that day but my life was changed forever!! Just felt like I should share!!

    Have those Easter Egg Hunts because someone may come to Church just for that and walk away a Child of God!!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

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