- Host An Easter Egg Hunt. Get together with your small group or Missional Community and hold a neighborhood Easter Egg hunt. If you have connecting lawns (i.e. without fences) talk to your neighbors on either side of you and make arrangements to hide eggs on their lawns as well. Use mostly plastic eggs with Candy inside, but you could also have some hard boiled eggs as well. Send flyers out to all the neighborhood families with Kids 2 weeks in advance.
- Have an Easter barbecue. On the Saturday before Easter, invite people over for the first barbecue of the year. Have games like washers, Hill Billy golf, beanbag toss, etc. for the kids and adults to play.
- Have an Easter brunch. On Easter invite your neighbors to come over Sunday at noon for Egg bake casserole.
- Create Easter Snack Baskets For Your Neighbors. Especially if your neighbors don’t have children or grand children, they might not have much reason to get Easter Candy. Make a little gift bag for each house on the block and hand them out with a simple message, “Happy Easter from the _________Family.”
Now if you noticed I didn’t say much about overt evangelism in any of the above suggestions. That can be done. Yet, your initial goal might just be to get to know your neighbors and to create a greater sense of community in your neighborhood. Depending on where you are with building trust and friendship with your neighbors, you might want to add some Gospel elements into any of the above suggestions.
- With an Easter egg hunt, you could hide some resurrection eggs amongst the kids. Mark each Resurrection egg with a Cross. When the hunt is over, gather all the kids afterwards and talk about each item that they found. Make sure you trade a great piece of candy for the Resurrection eggs.
- Share an Easter story book or video with the children to share the real meaning of Easter. This is also a great time to give the parents a break by providing them snakes and drinks. Get to know the parents while the kids are busy with the story and supervised in the other room.
- Decorate Easter cookies. Bake plenty of Easter themed sugar cookies. Have the traditional eggs, ducks, and bunnies, but also crosses and any other biblical Easter cookie shapes you can find. Talk about how each one connects to Easter.
- Do an Easter craft. Decorate crosses, foam door hangers, wreaths or create your own resurrection scenes. There are some great resources for doing crafts and telling the Easter message.
- Hand out age appropriate Easter tracts, books or videos.
I hope this helps you take a step towards building relationships with your neighbors and possibly witnessing to the love of Christ. It almost goes without saying, but you can always invite your neighbors or friends to church Good Friday or Sunday Morning. These days are often some of the most compelling and evangelist sermons of the year and often have cool experiential elements as well in many churches. Whatever you do, do it prayerfully and know that God’s working through it.
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Holy Week, especially Good Friday and Easter, is probably one of the best times to invite someone to a gospel presentation of some sort or to attend church with you.
In our Mother Church, we handed out bible tracts to all of our members. Each tracts simply told the story of Easter and why it is important. In each of those tracts was an invitation to one of our Good Friday or Easter Sunday services. We could have advertised over the radio, in the newspaper, or in mass mailings, but most people give a church a try because someone personally invited them. We encouraged each member of our church to hand that tract and invite to someone they know who was dechurched or unchurched and invite them to come to church with them.
Since we are in the process of starting a church and haven’t started formal services, I encourage you to invite some people to attend church with you at St. Paul. You could use the bible tracts if you’d like, but all of you know the Story and have been trained in telling it. You could share the tract or simply invite them to church. At Some point, be ready to tell the Story. Remember what can happen if you’re not prepared to tell the whole story. Telling them “Christ is risen” is indeed the central message of Christianity and Easter, but if you don’t expand on who he is, why he had to die, and what his resurrection will bring, the Easter Story won’t make much sense.
Again, Follow a Creation –> Fall –> Redemption –> Restoration pattern
Explain the God Created everything Good. The world was as it should be. Everything was perfect. We lived with God, others, ourselves, and creation in perfect relationships.
In the Fall, humanity joined in the rebellion of God’s enemy. They rejected God’s love and protection and sought life elsewhere. Their rebellion, called sin, broke all the perfect relationships we had at Creation. All creation began breaking down. Pain, suffering, natural disasters, war, violence, sickness, and death were all a result of our rebellion.
Yet God sent His Son into the World to Redeem all of Creation. He loved us so much that he was willing to carry all the burdens of our rebellion and to experience the worst of it as he died an excruciating death on the cross. He died the death we deserved and we receive an exchange. He took on our guilt on the cross so that we could take on his right standing with God. We are considered innocent because Jesus stood in our place and took our punishment as the guilty party. Jesus rose from the dead on Easter morning and proved he had defeated death. Now we have the assurance that because He lives, we’ll live also.
Jesus ascended back to His Father in Heaven, but before He left he gave us His Spirit. Through His Holy Spirit, Jesus now dwells in us. He has begun to restore us to the people we were meant to be as we have a new relationship with God and he has chosen to use us to start restoring in part the world around us as we display God’s goodness in our actions and share the good news of what He’s done with others. One day, God will bring all things to a full restoration. All the bad things of this world will no longer be remembered. God will restore all things as they were meant to be. The world will be perfect again. We’ll live in pleasure forever in the presence of God.
We all have this great hope. Make sure you share it with someone this Easter.