Have you ever played, “Which One is Not Like the Others”? The title of this post may remind you of that game. Some of you may be thinking that “the Easter bunny” doesn’t belong in the list. Others may say that “the cross” shouldn’t be in the lineup.
Regardless of your perspective, churches are confronted this time of year with the question, “What do we do about preschoolers, the Easter bunny, and the cross?” The answer depends in part on your church’s context.
Preschoolers and the Easter Bunny—Reaching Families of Preschoolers
If hosting a community Easter egg hunt will help advance your church’s mission to make disciples, then maybe you should consider having one.
- Use an Easter egg hunt to introduce your church to the community and invite families to visit your church on Easter.
- Separate the Easter Bunny from the cross.
- Host the Easter egg hunt on any day other than Easter.
- Allow preschoolers to have fun hunting eggs, and avoid trying to spiritualize the eggs. Preschoolers are literal thinkers and don’t really grasp symbolism.
- If you choose to tell preschoolers (and parents) the story of Jesus’s resurrection be sure to do so from the Bible, as you would tell a Bible story at church on any other occasion.
- Tell the Bible story in a different location from where the eggs were hidden, such as in a park pavilion. If a “live” Easter bunny is present, make sure he’s out of the preschoolers’ line of sight during Bible story time.
Preschoolers and the Cross—Teaching Preschoolers the Gospel
Some preschoolers learn about Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection at home. Others have never really heard how Jesus showed His love toward us by dying on the cross and being raised from the dead.
- Teach preschoolers that God loves us and that God sent Jesus because He loves us.
- Refrain from using symbolic language, such as, “Jesus is the Lamb of God.”
- When stating that Jesus died on the cross, avoid the R-rated details of Jesus’s terrible death.
- Focus on the resurrection and assure preschoolers that Jesus is alive!
Easter can be a fun, celebratory, and memorable time at church and at home. Encourage parents to keep the cross and the bunny separate, and remind them that building spiritual foundations in their preschoolers’ lives takes time and needs to happen everyday, not just on Easter.
Landry Holmes is the Manager of Lifeway Kids Ministry Publishing, Nashville, TN. A graduate of Howard Payne University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Landry served on church staffs before coming to Lifeway. He is a church leader, writer, workshop facilitator, and publisher. Landry also teaches children at his church in Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Janetta are the parents of two adult sons and two daughters-in-law.