MIDDLETOWN – With Easter coming up this weekend, many churches and pastors are wondering how they can missionally engage their community with the gospel, especially people who won’t necessarily attend an Easter church service. Many times, it is advantageous to go into the community to find the lost and share truth with them. Last weekend, that is exactly what Pastor Jerry Cowan and members of Valley Baptist Church did.

How did Valley Baptist decide on the Easter Egg Countdown Kit?

Valley Baptist members met in advance and reviewed the evangelistic events they had done over the past 16 years. Their Evangelism Coordinator chose what Valley calls an Easter Egg Countdown Kit – a dozen colored and numbered eggs in a carton, each with items inside that depict an element of the Lord’s Supper, arrest, trials, beating, crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection. Similar to an advent calendar, each day, one of the numbered eggs is opened allowing users to learn about the real reason Christians celebrate Easter.

Valley planned to make 100 kits, however, after going to a local chicken farm and asking for a donation of 100 cartons, they were given 150.  Pastor Jerry said, “We figured God wanted us to go bigger and make 150.  Then while assembling the materials, we found another 25 cartons and decided God wanted even more made, a total of 175!”

Twelve Valley members gathered at the church to assemble the kits. Two hours later they had opened all 2,100 eggs, put in an item of the Easter story with another slip that explained that element of the story and referenced the page number from a provided New Testament so users could read the narrative straight from the Bible, then closed the eggs and the packed the cartons.

The next morning, Pastor Jerry and several Valley members took the kits to Sharp Shopper, a sympathetic Christian grocery store.  A table was set up at each exit with the cartons and other materials. For the next three hours, people were greeted on their way in or out, and offered a “Free Easter Egg Countdown Kit.” The crucial term was FREE since Valley didn’t want to be seen as another fundraiser organization from the community. Pastor Jerry saw that most folks were willing to listen and receive the kits and is confident that out of the 175 kits given away, at least one family will utilize the presentation and hear about the real Easter story for the very first time!

Did anything notable happen where God was clearly seen moving through this event?

Only one kit was left and was brought back to the church. Pastor Jerry figured he would give it away to a family at Valley the next day.  Unexpectedly Sunday morning, a female police officer came into the church. She told the greeters that local police officers were encouraged by the Police Chief to “visit the churches”. She decided that if she was going to church, she would actually go inside during the morning service. One of the Valley ladies discovered that this police officer had two small girls and gave the last kit to their guest.

Pastor Jerry shared that this was a fun-filled missional engagement weekend for many in their church as they reached into the community and allowed for an unusual presentation of the gospel to be well received. Seeds have surely been planted in Middletown this past week. Please join Valley Baptist members in praying that these seeds will be watered, grow and mature, and will produce fruit that changes lives for Christ in their community.