One of the outflows of that conversation was an opportunity our Children's Ministry Team initiated for families to host Neighborhood Easter egg hunts. We offered kits with invitations, instructions, and some supplies to anyone from our church who was interested in hosting a neighborhood Easter egg hunt. Over the past weekend, we had neighborhood Easter egg hunts in 25 different neighborhoods across Fort Worth.
Several things I love about the idea Nita and her team came up with:
- It gave people a chance to begin relationships with their neighbors with a low-risk, easy first step.
- It wasn't a bait-and-switch. We didn't fill eggs with tracts or church propaganda in lieu of candy, or force people to sit through a Bible study before they could hunt eggs.
- There was enough flexibility for neighborhoods to adopt the idea to fit their context. The Children's Ministry team gave enough instructions to be helpful, but not so many that the hosts were handcuffed.
- It provided the context for relationship with a neighbor, which was our initial goal. Our ultimate goal is to see neighbors who don't know Jesus introduced to Jesus through an intentional relationship with neighbors who love them.
- It wasn't about McKinney Church. We weren't trying to find a roundabout way to invite people to McKinney Church. We were inviting them to an Easter Egg hunt and then into relationship with their neighbors. Our desire is that that will lead to an invitation to know Jesus. The invitation to McKinney Church will be the natural outcome of that process at various places in the process. But we didn't want to confuse the invitation. If people respond to an invitation to trust Christ and decide to connect with the church down the street, we're okay with that and wanted to make sure our invitations didn't confuse that.
Stories have already begun pouring in. Now we're looking for something similar to do this Summer. I'd like to see our people engaged in 100 neighborhoods by next Easter.