(Note by Rodlie Ortiz: This is a guest post by Harold Altamirano. He’s the pastor of Life Fellowship, a Seventh-day Adventist Church. You can follow him on Twitter here)
Phobias and fears paralyze us.
When my daughter was little, she would not GO into the water due to her fear of it. However, little by little, she got over it. She first dipped her toes, then her feet. Soon, she was waist deep, and not long after that she was splashing water. Now, she is a great swimmer and she can’t get enough of it.
Our church, Life Fellowship, decided that it was time to be courageous. It is our desire to reach our city. The challenge is that most people do not attend church events. Challenging times require a challenging attitude. In the context of our denomination, we made a decision that took us outside of our comfort zone into our community. We decided to face our fears and meet our community where they are.
Last year (2014), we tried an Easter egg hunt outreach. We didn’t know what to expect. Our purpose was simply to let our community know that we are here to serve and to love them. We expected 50-100 people. However, over 400 people from our community came. We were blown away and unprepared, to say the least, but we interacted with the people of our community. It was beautiful.
Based on our previous experience, this year we decided to try it again. As a matter of fact, people were contacting us again to ask if we were going to do something. We did an Easter weekend event. The title was: THE CROSS=LOVE. It included an Easter program on Saturday morning (our usual church gathering time) and a helicopter egg-drop for Easter Sunday. This is not a unique idea: many churches had tried it, but it was a first time for us.
Here is what we did:
Advertising: We used paid targeted Facebook ads, some Easter websites, and some free ads in our local newspaper and magazines, and we designed an invite card and distributed over 2000 to advertise both events.
Here is what we did for our worship gathering on Saturday:
1. First Impression Team: We have a great First Impression Team on a weekly basis, so the only difference was that we had more gift bags ready to hand out and more people on the team.
2. Our program: We had a musical storyline leading to the resurrection. We tried as much as possible to have the same quality and excellence we aim for every weekend, but we did have a “different” worship experience than we usually have.
3. Sermon and calling: I preached and called people to accept Jesus at the end.
4. A good-bye treat: Fruit salad bowls were ready outside for all attendees.
Here is what we did for Easter Sunday:
Venue: We used our local high school football field as the venue.
The set up for the event was as follows:
- A welcome tent: Our volunteers set up in the main entrance to welcome guests, to encourage them to fill out a connection card, and they gave them a gift bag (A Christian book, a gift and a church postcard with our information…the bag was to be used to collect the eggs too)
- A free snacks tent: Our volunteers gave out water, nachos and cookies to whoever wanted.
- A prayer tent: Our volunteers were ready to pray with whoever wanted to pray.
- An MC: We hired Playground Ministries (a local Christian ministry that lead games and activities for large groups) to MC the event and to keep the crowd having fun and engaged while they waited for the helicopter.
- Activities: Kite kits were given so parents could put them together and fly them with their kids.
- Music: Music was playing throughout and our band sang 3 songs live.
- Helicopter: The main event was a helicopter egg-drop. We had 8,000 eggs.
- Next Step: Everyone received an invitation to our current sermon series as a next step.
Our purpose was the same, to love and serve our community. We want them to know that we are here. It was amazing to interact with over 1,200 people from our community. We didn’t get everything right but we will be better prepared next year.
You can check out a video of the event HERE.
What was the response and reaction?
We did experience some criticism because of this event. In our denomination some have different ideas about Easter. We decided that we don’t want to be paralyzed by our fears. Our understanding is that Jesus is here to destroy the work of the enemy and to reclaim and redeem what is his.
…The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. 1 John 3:8
To echo what Mark Batterson says: “We are not called to hold the fort but to charge the gates of hell.”
We received many guests on the weeks following the event and now send emails inviting them to other events. The win for us was that we dared to tell our community that God loves them and we trust that God will use what we did and continue to do to lead some to a relationship with Jesus.
The Bible says:
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Mat. 28:18-20
He is with us as we GO and seek to reach the lost. We pray for our community and we pray for God to use us as we GO to reach as many as possible in our community. Let GO of your fears and Let’s GO by faith!
The total cost to put this event on was $2,200. Some people donated water and candies for the easter eggs.
Pictures and Resources:
So what about you? Has your church ever done an Easter egg outreach? What do you think of the idea? To leave a comment scroll down or click here.