Easter is practically here! Over the past couple weeks, I’ve been sharing some of the ways I’ve been celebrating Easter at home with my little guy. You can see those posts here and here. Discovering how to celebrate Easter at home with my own little guy has been both exciting and challenging. Those words also describe celebrating Easter in children’s ministry!
I’m now in my fifth year of kids’ ministry, and I’ve learned (and am still learning) a lot about the way I celebrate Easter with the kids I get the privilege to pastor. While many of you may have had your Easter plans in place for months, maybe some of you are scrambling for last minute ideas. This post was created with YOU in mind!
Before we dive into specifics, let me share a few basic principles I’ve learned as I’ve celebrated Easter, and prepare to again this year in our local church.
The Gospel is the main point.
Easter is a great opportunity for outreach, fun events & more. However, in all the excitement of Easter, it’s so important to remember that the Gospel is THE main (and realistically, only) point of Easter. Easter should be a season when the Good News of who Jesus is is on full display in our ministries! Whenever I plan my kids’ ministry year, I ensure that teaching about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus falls on the weeks leading up to and on Easter Sunday. We miss the point of celebrating Easter if we miss keeping the Gospel front and center.
Hype is not the point – but it helps get kids to the point!
Let’s be real – kids love excitement and hype. They are ALL IN for glow-in-the-dark everything, hyped-up music, chocolate and fun events. While hype can’t be the main point of what we do, having fun and excitement surrounding Easter certainly helps! I’m a proponent of excitement and hype at Easter for two reasons. The first?
Easter is worth celebrating! It shouldn’t be boring – we are literally receiving the best news in the universe – Jesus is alive! And He saves!
If there is any reason we should get kids hyped and celebrate, it is this one. Having fun and celebration during the Easter season can keep the focus on how amazing and exciting the Gospel truly is.
The second reason I’m a proponent of excitement and hype is that it helps gets kids to the place where they’re able to grasp the point of Easter. Kids may not come with a friend if they say they’re going to church, but if they’re going to church where there’s something cool and exciting like a giant egg hunt or a fun event?! Yeah! They might come! And once they’re here, they’ll get the Gospel – which changes everything.
Exciting & Gospel-centered does not equal BIG!
I love big events. Our summer Kids’ Xperience attests to that – I pull out all the stops & love having the budget to do that! However, I pastor in a small church that has limited space, volunteers and budget – as do most of us! Exciting, fun and Gospel-centered doesn’t have to be a huge extravaganza. Events can have all the important elements – kid-friendly, fun, exciting and filled with the Gospel – without having to be a massive production or require a huge budget. It may require creativity and planning, but it can happen, and be just as effective as a huge event!
So, with that in mind, how do we celebrate Easter? What can it look like in kidmin? If you’re scrambling, here are some ideas:
- Experience is everything! Provide a tangible way for kids to understand the Easter story. This can happen through a Stations of the Cross experience adapted for kids, a dramatic retelling of the Easter story, or simply finding tangible activities that accompany your telling of the Easter story. Several years ago in our church, we did an event called “The Ultimate Easter Hunt.” It was low-budget and worked with our small group of kids, but really demonstrated the Easter story in a powerful way. I loved this event, and you can get it right here on the blog! I’ve also created an experience called “Experience: Salvation” that’s available at the DKM Marketplace. It’s a 90-minute lesson that incorporates small-group activities and hands-on experiences for kids to understand the Easter Story. You can buy it here!
- Provide a take-home experience! Creating something for kids to take home so they can continue the Easter experience at home is exciting (Yay! We get a gift!) and also effective (Let’s talk about this more as a family!). I am loving this free take-home devotional from Children’s Ministry Deals, and I’m sending it home with our families this week! In previous years, I’ve sent home Easter Story sequencing cards from Oriental Trading, which was also a huge hit (sadly, they’re no longer available). Scope out sites like Oriental Trading (or Open a Party if you’re Canadian) and Christian Book, or local dollar and book stores to see what you can find to make a creative take-home for your families!
- Music is a powerful tool! I am convinced that much of the theology we hold is actually learned through the songs we sing. Whether kids realize it or not, when they are singing truths of the Gospel, it is resonating deep within them! Be sure to use songs in your kids’ ministry or worship services in the coming weeks that communicate Jesus’ death and resurrection in a powerful way! You still have time to create a Spotify playlist, use a free QR code maker to make a code with that link, and print and send them home with your families on Easter Sunday. Looking for some inspiration? Here’s the playlist I’m using with Levi. I also love this post from Brittany @ Deeper Kidmin about her favourite Easter songs for kids’ ministry.
- Easter egg hunts can be a great tool! While most kids don’t need more chocolate on Easter, there are some easy and creative ways you can use Easter egg hunts to communicate the truth of the Gospel. Have preteens in your ministry? Hide a variety of Scripture passages inside the Easter eggs, and then have them arrange them in order of events for the Easter story! Have fun prizes for the winners. Preschoolers? Hide empty eggs! As they open them, remind them that the grave is empty just like the eggs! Share a treat as a group at the end of the hunt. Got a rowdy bunch of elementary kids? Stick some finger lights in those eggs, turn off the lights, and have them find the eggs! Use it as a lesson intro about Jesus being the LIGHT of the world that shines at Easter! You don’t need to have a huge budget or extravagant helicopter drop to make this activity memorable for your kids.
So, what are you doing for Easter in your kids’ ministry? What tips and tricks have you learned? Feel free to share them in the comments!