Before I start this blog post let me be clear about a couple of things.
1. I am insanely jealous of Bible Belt weather this time of year.
2. I am not a big fan of children killing each other in the craziness we call egg hunts.
Why am I jealous of the Bible Belt this time of the year? Well, most often when it’s time to do an Easter egg hunt this is what it looks like outside our church. (No exaggeration as this photo was taken Easter 3 years ago)
We were looking for a way to do an Easter egg alternative and one of the women on our team Lori Buck came up with a brilliant idea. Do an Easter egg hunt indoors. I have to admit my chaos meter was going crazy. She began to explain her idea and it was brilliant.
Here is what it looks like.
1. Buy foam eggs online or at Hobby Lobby
2. Use “Blue Painters Tape” to tape said eggs to the wall.
3. Hide them in a specific room or all over your kids environment.
(Here is what it looked like taped to the wall)
4. Create a starting point and supply maps of the locations you want the kids to search for the eggs.
5. Provide the maps and pens
6. Do not allow kids to do this on their own – by forcing parents to help you create a shared experience with parent and child.
7. Have the parents and kids search for the eggs stuck to the walls once the egg is located circle the part on the map where the egg is located.
8. Once finished return the map for a prize. (We did a 3 tiered prize system based on how many eggs the kids found.) All the kids walked away with candy.
Here is what I loved about it.
1. It was FAR CALMER than any egg hunt I have ever been to.
2. Parents and kids did it together. Families were working together to find these eggs hidden all over the walls. Kids loved it and parents loved as much or more than their kids.
3. It was different, fun, orderly and just enough crazy to be fun.
4. Because we leveraged the parents we needed only a couple of volunteers.
We have done this event for 4 years now. Here are some of my thoughts. I love how it gives the parents the keys to the event. It’s not something the bring their kids to. It’s an event they all participate in. We do it on Palm Sunday to maximize attendance for two weeks, not just one. We invite everyone back for Easter services the following week. If the weather was better we may do the helicopter drop, but our poor weather forced us to create an event that pushes the family to do something fun together. This might be late for this year but try it out next year you might like it.
Given the current political season I thought I would share this prayer by our 16th president. A few years ago at a prayer breakfast one the persons at the prayer breakfast I attended read a proclamation by President Lincoln from 1863. It was such a moving declaration of our nations condition at that time and I believe of our present condition. It is a well-timed fresh reminder that our peace and security is not our doing by comes from God’s divine hand of providential grace. Lincoln says this line that is so profound and so powerful “in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us!”
I was recently in a restaurant with all our kids and one of my kids needed some help so I helped her and gave her a hug then looked her in the eye and told her that she was my favorite. When other people overhear me tell my kids they are my favorite the reaction I always get is priceless. Most people are either shocked or offended because they counted how many kids we have when we walk in the room. If you have more than two kids you know what I’m talking about when you walk into a restaurant and people either pause or mouth the number of kids you have….apparently four kids is the new twelve. People who are shocked that I would have favorites and worse yet have the gall to say that I did out loud. Favorites
What most people don’t know is I tell all my kids they are my favorite. I tell them each they are my favorite and it never really occurred to me that this is counter-cultural it’s just something I’ve always done. I tell them each they are my favorite then I tell them not to tell anyone. It’s our little fun way of saying I love you more than anyone in the whole world.
This time of the year parents should be looking for ways to keep their kids safe. During Christmas kids get more devices that are connected to the internet than any other time during the year. There are several options for you to do this. If you don’t do anything presently you need to. Our kids are connected to the net through video games systems, iPad, tablets, and the list goes on and on. If it has a screen it connects to the web and if it connects to the web you need a proactive strategy to protect your kids.
A friend of mine has developed some software to help keep kids safe online it is to the point where he is looking for beta testers. We need around 25 parents of kids 10 and under. We will take the first 25 families that fit that criteria.
Here is the info from the guy who created the software.
I would like to invite about 25 parents, free access to the beta, and lifetime free access to the product after beta.
-Each parent can create profiles for as many of their children as they like. Age 10 and under would be ideal
-They should be open to providing feedback on what was easy/hard to use
-They should be willing to share and tag a few links or apps that they have found appropriate for topic and age-range
-The social links between parents will initially be based on email addresses, so they must be willing for that single piece of information to be shared among the beta group. No information about the children is ever shared.
What you need to do to join the beta testing group is fill out this form and if you qualify you will be contacted with further details.
When I was a kids pastor at the ripe age of 21 I did then what I find unthinkable now. I wouldn’t sing Christmas songs in kids church and never would sing hymns. As I think back I can’t even remember why I felt that way. I think I felt that kids wanted to have fun and Hymns were above their pay grade. I think I thought Christmas Carols were things you heard in stores not songs of praise sung in church. What changed my perspective was being in the same church for 20 years. Seeing the kids grow up that I had taught in preschool I realized that I had made a couple of mistakes.
One mistake was thinking that fun mattered more than substance. If I made it crazy enough they would come back. I’m all for fun but not at the price of substance. The other mistake I made is I thought I was helping kids with the faith that they need today rather than preparing them for the faith they are going to need. As kids pastors we have to give them a faith for today but we also have to prepare them for the faith they are going to need.
We must give our kids a faith that is big enough they can grow into. Kids also need to be connected to the history of our faith. The need to know that God loves them yes, but many people have lived a life of uncompromising faith they can to by God’s grace.