This will be the second Easter our country has spent under extraordinary circumstances. For ministers, this means we again need to find new ways to be creative throughout this most important of seasons for Christians. For children’s ministers this can be especially challenging because children’s ministries typically host egg hunts and spring festivals during this time of year. These sorts of activities become markers on the church calendar that people rely on.
But perhaps this is not after all a bad thing. For the past two years children’s ministers have been forced to come to terms with the true meaning of Easter and to reflect the true meaning of Easter in the programming provided for the children in their ministries. What this looks like will vary from church to church but the important thing is to keep Christ central to all activities whether they be virtual, in person, or some combination of the two.
So how do children’s ministers help their children to focus on the true meaning of Easter in a world that is over saturated with eggs and bunnies and chocolate candies? I personally do not believe that we must abandon all of these fun traditions. However, everything that we do should ultimately point to Jesus.
Children’s ministers can encourage the children in their ministries to name ways in which they have experienced loss throughout the past two years. This may help children to identify with the death, isolation and suffering that Jesus experienced on the cross which will help them better understand the sacrifice that Jesus performed for us willingly. The message of the cross has become all the more relevant to a generation of children who have lost grandparents to Covid, have had to wear masks to prevent the spread of disease, and have been separated from their friends all while not knowing when it will end.
But the message of Easter is that while we may not know when it will end, we do know how it will end. Christ will be victorious, and life will win out over death just as it did that very first Easter. We must communicate to our children that Jesus is the One who has fulfilled the promise upon which we place our hope. We may be separated from one another, but there is nothing that can separate us from His love as demonstrated on that very first Easter.
So this Easter, do not fret if your church is not able to host its annual egg hunt or children’s musical. Instead, help the children understand their recent experiences in light of the cross and the resurrection. This will be a lesson that will carry them not just through the Easter season, but through life. And this message can be shared virtually or in person. Sometimes the situations that we think will hold back our ministries and church growth are the very things that are necessary to advance the message of the Gospel. May it be so this Easter, and may we never forget what these recent years have taught us.