An Eggstra-Special Easter, Part 2
About the Guest
Sharing the gospel message doesn't haven't to be hard. In fact, some would say it's lots of fun! Listener Lynn Schoephoerster tells Dennis Rainey how she shares the gospel with her neighbors by hosting a neighborhood Easter egg hunt using FamilyLife's Resurrection Eggs.
Sharing the gospel message doesn’t haven’t to be hard. In fact, some would say it’s lots of fun!
An Eggstra-Special Easter, Part 2
Bob: Every year, right before Easter, Lynn Schoephoerster gets the neighborhood children together and tells them the Easter Story, using Resurrection Eggs®. Every year, she looks forward to it.
Lynn: You know, it has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done—we have ever done. I love it. I look forward to it every year. At times, it does get a little overwhelming, you know, because it is a busy time of year; but I have never regretted doing it. It is so fun to see the kids having fun and to know they're hearing the Gospel. I mean, that just—you know, that's so exciting.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Thursday, March 1st. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. We’re going to hear how one mom has found an exciting, fun way to share Christ with the kids in her neighborhood. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us. I have been thinking about this Easter egg thing since we talked about it on yesterday's program.
Dennis: It's not Easter egg thing, Bob, it is the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. It's not an Easter egg thing.
Bob: Well, it's pretty cool! You know, I've been thinking about it; and I've been thinking this has some possibilities. This thing has some potential.
Dennis: Oh, I think it has huge potential.
Bob: Imagine if the “One Percenters” that we talked about—the one percent of the folks who are listening—who will go, "We could do that." If they would do it—and invite ten kids, 15 kids, over to the backyard or over to the neighborhood park—and host this deal—and then take them through the Resurrection Eggs®, where they can hear the story of the Gospel—I guess I should pull back and explain exactly what we're talking about to folks; shouldn't I?—because not everybody was listening yesterday.
Dennis: That might be a good idea.
Bob: We have hatched up—you said that, yesterday. We've hatched this idea—
Dennis: —I did say that—
Bob: —for a one-day event—the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt—to be held in neighborhoods all across the country this year, on the day before Easter.
Dennis: It's going to be hosted by moms, and dads, and families who invite neighborhood kids into their backyard—not only just, well, enable them to get some eggs with candy in it—but also discover 12 very important eggs, which are a part of the Resurrection Eggs resource that we have created, here at FamilyLife.
Bob: You'll sit down together, after the kids have done the Easter egg hunt. They'll pull out the special eggs, the Resurrection Eggs, and—
Dennis: —which they would have found as they were looking for eggs—
Bob: —for candy eggs—
Dennis: —with candy in them; right.
Bob: And they'll open one up. The first one is the—I forget what color it is—I think it's a blue egg, and it's got a donkey in it. You can say, "Do you know why there is a donkey in your egg?" The child may know, or the child may not know; but you can explain to them that, a long time ago, Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey; and that He knew what was ahead for Him—that He was going to Jerusalem to die.
Each egg they open up will tell a little bit more of the story of Jesus' passion—His death, His burial, His resurrection. By the time you are all done, the kids will have heard the whole story, start to finish—from the triumphal entry to the empty tomb. They'll know why Jesus came, they'll know about His death, and they'll know about His resurrection, and how we can have a relationship with God through Christ.
Dennis: There are 12 eggs in all. There are a dozen eggs in this carton. Each egg has an object in it, except one. One egg has nothing in it. It's empty. That, of course, is symbolic of the empty tomb.
The idea is to use a holiday where people are talking about Easter and the message of Easter—the hope that Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. For your family to invite neighborhood children to come to your backyard or, perhaps, host this Easter egg hunt in a park near your home. Invite kids from all over the neighborhood, from many neighborhoods, to come join you.
They'll find some eggs with candy in them, but they'll also find the story of Easter. The reason that's so important is because only 20 percent of all children will ever go to church. Eighty percent, eight out of ten, do not go to church and will likely never hear the real Easter story.
Bob: There are a lot of kids who come to our house on October 31st, looking for candy. We didn't send them an invitation; right? You know; but to send kids an invitation and say, "We're going to be passing out candy at our house on Saturday morning, April 7th. I think you'd have some neighborhood kids who would want to come by and be a part of that.
In fact, one of the reasons I know that had happened is because we've been talking to a mom in Colorado Springs who has done this a couple of times. Her name is Lynn Schoephoerster. Lynn is on the line with us. Lynn, welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Lynn: Hi, thank you.
Bob: Good to have you here.
Dennis: Lynn, you have four children.
Lynn: We have four kids.
Dennis: Eleven, nine, eight, and five. They are the target audience for whom we want to communicate the Easter story to. Were your children a part of what you decided to do in your neighborhood?
Lynn: They are. As they get older, they become more and more a part as they are able to handle more.
Bob: What made you decide to do this the first time you launched it in your neighborhood?
Lynn: The first time—it actually started with an outreach in the fall, and then became an Easter egg hunt. My neighbor and I—we were the moms where the kids hung out at either her house or my house. We just had a real love for those kids. She was a young Christian; I was kind of mentoring her. We decided to have a party for the kids.
At the time we were planning it, we weren't even planning on a spiritual emphasis. We just wanted to show the kids we cared about them; but while we were planning it, I received word that a boy in our previous neighborhood had died. He and his friends had found his mom's gun, and he had gotten killed. It broke my heart. My first question was, "Did he know Jesus?" I didn't know.
I told my neighbor—I said, “We have to share the Gospel with these kids,” because I knew that a lot of these kids did not go to church. This might be one of their only chances to ever hear the Gospel. That's how it started. I kind of determined then, you know, as long as I am able, I want to make sure that every child has a chance to hear the Gospel, by coming to the events in our neighborhood.
Bob: So how many years have you been doing this at Easter?
Lynn: Since, I think, 1998.
Dennis: Wow, cool. So how have you gotten the word out in the neighborhood about your Easter egg hunt?
Lynn: We send out invitations. We deliver them personally, for the most part, as we're able. You know, I will deliver them, or my kids will deliver them. We make up a cute little invitation and invite the kids personally. We usually play it up—like, I will tell the kids ahead of time, "Well, we're going to do an Easter egg hunt in two weeks," or three weeks, or whatever, so that they kind of get excited about it.
Dennis: How many children will you invite?
Lynn: We will invite—I typically do my neighborhood, which, at one point, had about 26 kids. You know, it fluctuates over time; but then I will usually invite a few extras, as well. We usually end up with about 25 to 30 kids. You know, our first one, though, was a lot smaller because, you know, that was the first time we'd done it. We did not really expand out and invite more kids. We probably had 15 at our first Easter egg hunt.
Bob: That's still a great turnout—have 15 kids there.
Lynn: It was; but, you know, the kids look forward to it. I mean, they count down the days. I mean, I will have them walk up to me and say, "Miss Lynn, only eight more days!" You know, so they cannot wait! On the day that it happens, you know, they're always saying, "One more hour." (Laughter)
Dennis: What time in the morning do you have it?
Lynn: We usually do it after lunch.
Dennis: Oh, really? You do it in the afternoon?
Lynn: We have just—I think because of kids' sports schedules, we try to accommodate that because so many of the kids in our neighborhood are involved in sports. I usually try and get a feel for what works best for the neighbor kids so that as many can come as possible.
Bob: Have you had moms and dads come with their kids to be a part of this?
Lynn: Yes, and that's what's cool. I remember, one year, we probably had 20 adults there.
Dennis: Oh, really?
Lynn: They're hearing the Gospel, too, yes.
Bob: Now, have you had anybody who has been offended by the fact that you were inviting kids, or that you were sharing the Gospel, or that you were cramming religion down people's throats?
Lynn: Not that I know of. I do know that we always, when we're handing out the invitations—one reason I like to do it personally is I like to tell people that, you know, “We are going to be sharing about the first Easter,” because I had a woman just this past spring at our Easter egg hunt. She called me up later and said, “Okay, what were you telling us?” She was very kind of defensive, and she did not want to hear anything from the Bible; but we had a good conversation and she ended up not coming, which was fine. You know, we have very good relationships with our neighbors; and I don't want to trick them into hearing it.
Dennis: That's right.
Lynn: I know some of the moms aren't—I know they don't get excited about what we share, but their kids are so excited about coming. They can't very well tell their kids, “No.”
Dennis: Okay, so you start this in the afternoon about 1:00, 1:30—something like that?
Dennis: How long does it last?
Lynn: We usually go about an hour-and-a-half.
Dennis: Oh, really?
Lynn: That's because we have other activities, too. We make it an event. How we do it is—we share the Gospel first, while we have the kids' attention, before they've eaten all the candy. I like your idea, too, of them finding the eggs. I think that's great. Anyway, we share, and have the egg hunt, and then we will have games afterwards.
Dennis: What kind of games?
Lynn: This is not my strength (Laughter); but this past year, which was such a blessing, one of my friends, who is good with games, helped. We did a cakewalk with cupcakes for prizes instead of big cakes. We've done face painting, which was a big hit. The cakewalk was huge! I mean, those kids—I don't know how many times they did that. You know, they just kept doing it over, and over, and over. We have done relay races. We usually have a little craft there for them to do—and always a snack table, which is huge.
Bob: We've had our team put together some coloring pages that you can download from our website at FamilyLife.com; and you can use those as part of your craft, if you want to, for the hunt this year. Tell me about the impact on your own children. Is this something they look forward to every year?
Lynn: Oh, they do; they really do. I remember when we moved—we moved three years ago in October, end of October. The next Easter egg hunt would have been, what, about five months after that. They said, "Mom, are we going to do an Easter egg hunt this year?" I said, "Well, we'll see." You know, we were pretty new in the neighborhood; and I was kind of hesitant. They really, really wanted to do it. So, we did it because they enjoy it as much as we do.
Dennis: Now, do you make them a part of the actual afternoon event, or are they participating around, sharing the Gospel with children, or are they just listening as well?
Lynn: They are mostly listening, but they help. I try and include my kids and the other kids as much as possible—like filling the eggs with candy. They love to do that. The other neighborhood kids—we include them, too, as much as we can. They love being a part of that. They love filling the eggs. We will let the older kids hide some of the eggs for the younger kids so they kind of take ownership of it, too.
Bob: I know this is something that your family spends time, in the weeks before the hunt, praying about the event—but praying for the kids who are coming; right?
Lynn: Yes, and that's fun for them because, especially, a few years ago, we had seven kids accept Christ. So they got to see—like, my one daughter—actually, it was over the course of two events, I should say. We were talking about miracles one day; and I said, "You know, Annie, do you know a miracle?" She said, "Yes, all three of my friends became Christians." Then, the next event, three of my other daughter's friends became Christians. It's exciting for them to see—you know, for them to participate in prayer and then to see God answer.
Dennis: Well, do you want to give a challenge to a mom who may be listening right now who is still wondering if she ought to do this with her kids? She's thinking, "Oh, Easter—I'm busy with getting clothes ready to go to church the next morning." This really is a meaningful opportunity and a way for a family to reach out. Do you want to give that mom a challenge?
Lynn: Oh, I would say, “Do it.” It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever done—we have ever done. I just—I love it. I look forward to it every year. At times, it does get a little overwhelming, you know, because it is a busy time of year; but I have never regretted doing it. It is so fun to see the kids having fun and to know they're hearing the Gospel. I mean, that just, you know, that's so exciting.
Bob: And when you team up with another mom or another family to do it, it does really lighten the load and make it a lot of fun; doesn't it?
Lynn: Yes, it does.
Bob: Well, you're talking to the “One Percenters” today, Lynn.
Bob: We've identified that we figure, of all the folks listening, there's about one percent who will say, "You know what? We ought to do that."
Dennis: “I want to be a ‘One Percenter’ now.”
Bob: "I want to be like Lynn"—that's what they're saying right now.
Lynn: I hope so.
Bob: "I want to be like Lynn."
Lynn: Well, I just would love to see them do it, and I have such a burden to see people doing this.
Dennis: Now, Lynn, I have one last question.
Dennis: You've been to seminary; haven't you?
Lynn: No. (Laughter)
Dennis: You mean you've not been to seminary to be trained to do something like this?
Lynn: No, and I am not on staff with Campus Crusade, either. (Laughter)
Bob: You're just a normal mom!
Lynn: I am a mom who loves kids.
Dennis: And God has used you, in spite of the fact you're not on Campus Crusade for Christ staff!
Dennis: Can you believe that?
Bob: I'll tell you what, Lynn, you're a good sport.
Dennis: You are a hero, Lynn.
Bob: We appreciate you, not only doing this, but sharing with others how to do it. I'm just—you know—for a while, a number of years ago, there was that, "Be Like Mike," for Michael Jordan thing. I think we need some bumper stickers, "Be Like Lynn." Don't you think?
Dennis: “Be Like Lynn”, you bet.
Bob: Yes. Be a “One Percenter”.
Lynn: Be a “One Percenter”. Do it for the kids.
Bob: Yes, and do it for the Kingdom; right?
Lynn: Yes, definitely.
Dennis: Lynn, thanks for joining us. We appreciate you, and we do pray that God will use your example in the lives of many this Easter season and in the coming Easter seasons. We're thinking this is something that, just like you started with 15 children, and it multiplied to 25—we're thinking that, in future years, this may become a regular event around neighborhoods all across the country.
Lynn: Oh, yes. It is definitely a yearly event for us. I plan on doing it 'til I'm 80, if I'm able.
Bob: We may have to rename this "Lynn's World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt."
Dennis: There you go.
Bob: Lynn, thanks a bunch.
Lynn: Thank you.
Bob: Great talking to you.
Lynn: Okay; bye-bye.
Dennis: Bob, that was egg-cellent.
Bob: Oh, you're terrible.
Dennis: Your questions just broke through the shell.
Bob: Oh, come on; come on; come on! (Laughter)
Dennis: You scrambled me, though.
Bob: I do think, though, that Lynn's World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt—I think we may need to rename this deal, just in honor of Lynn. This is not about Lynn—
Dennis: —no, it's not.
Bob: And it's really not about Resurrection Eggs. It's about telling kids about Jesus.
Dennis: It is.
Bob: We just think we have a tool here that makes it easy, and convenient, and fun; and it's something—I'm looking at the eggs here. They're brightly colored. Kids are attracted to Resurrection Eggs. They have a ton of fun opening these up, finding out what's in it, trying to figure out—it's kind of like putting a puzzle together; you know? They open up the blue one, and—
Dennis: —there's the donkey.
Bob: And what's the next color there? That's kind of a light—
Dennis: That's got the cup—
Bob: —for the night before Jesus was—
Dennis: Look at that. That's kind of a cool cup.
Bob: Well, you go through all of the eggs; and, again, it takes you through the story—all the way from the triumphal entry to the resurrection.
Dennis: I'm trying to open this one.
Bob: Yes, all of the parts come wrapped up.
Dennis: They're really wrapped.
Bob: What's in that one?
Dennis: What do you think that one is, Bob? That's a rock.
Bob: Well, you didn't open those up in order. That's the stone.
Dennis: Oh, I didn’t. Okay, I'm sorry. There are the coins.
Bob: That's the stone—oh, yes, the coins from Judas betraying—
Dennis: You know, this has really improved a lot from the first time we did this.
Bob: When your kids stuffed all of these?
Dennis: We put these together—the first 3,000 dozen we put together in my kids' junior high cafeteria. I'm sure some separation of church and state law was broken as we did that, but we put the first 3,000 dozen together—
Bob: —there's the crown of thorns right there.
Dennis: Yes, there's the crown of thorns. We prayed that those eggs did not end up in our garage for the next 30 years.
Bob: That one's got a dice in it.
Dennis: That's when they were gambling and—
Bob: —oh, casting lots for Jesus' robe.
Dennis: That's right, for his robe. There's the gauze for the grave clothes of Christ.
Bob: Well, anyway, you can find out what's in all of the eggs if you want to go to our website at FamilyLife.com. Click on the icon that is for the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. It gives you, not only what's in all of the Resurrection Eggs, but there are details about how you can execute an event like Lynn and her family have been doing for the last five or six years. Attract the neighborhood kids, and tell them the Easter story, and tell them how they can be right with God. In fact, we've got a tract that you can pass out to the kids to take home with them to remind them of the Easter story. We really—
Dennis: That's all a part of the kit.
Bob: All a part of the kit; and if you need more information on all of the resources that are available, just to go to our website at FamilyLife.com. It's all right there.
Dennis: Or call 1-800-FL-TODAY and talk to someone on our team. They'll set you right up to be able to do this, whether it be in your neighborhood or a park. Bob, I'm looking at the one percent again of 2 million listeners to our broadcast. That's 20,000 families; and Lynn said she had 15 the first time, up to 25. Let's say we averaged—
Bob: —averaged 20?
Dennis: Now we're talking—that would be 400,000 children who would hear the Gospel, and if just ten percent of those trusted Christ—
Bob: —40,000 kids.
Dennis: Forty thousand children. You know, if that happened on Saturday morning, we may usher in the second return of Jesus Christ.
Bob: Or a revival or something would happen.
Bob: Well, we need your help to make that happen. We need you to be one of the “One Percenters” and to go to our website at FamilyLife.com. Sign up. When you sign up, we're going to keep in touch with you and send you some suggestions and ideas—make sure that you've got everything ready. If you've got any questions along the way, you can contact us; and we'll try and help you get the questions answered. Then, we want to hear from you afterwards.
Dennis: That's right.
Bob: We want to hear how many kids came, and we want to see if you have some digital pictures you can upload to us and put those on our website.
Dennis: Tell us what happened—some of the little stories because I'm sure there are going to be stories of children who have come from homes where they have not even heard of who God is and what He is all about. You know, the Easter story is really at the heart of the Gospel.
If you go to the Book of Acts and study how Peter gave his first message, at the core of his first message was the resurrection. He talked to the Israelites, to the nation of Israel, there in Jerusalem, about the Jesus that they crucified was now alive from the dead and had ascended to the right hand of the throne of God. Because of that, offered forgiveness to all who would call upon Him as Savior and Lord. This story, this message, really is anchored in what the Bible teaches.
Bob: And if you would like to reinforce the story with your own children—if you'd like to see them catch a heart and a vision for sharing the story with others—I mean, you stop and think of the impact this has had on Lynn's kids. It can have that kind of an impact on your own children, and help strengthen their faith, and help them embrace the reality of the Gospel in a more profound way.
Dennis: I just want to ask the other 99 percent to pray for the “One Percenters”. If you're not going to be a part of the World's Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt, then you can pray that those who do step out and do that—that God's favor will rest upon them.
Bob: If you are part of the “One Percenters”, we want to be here to help you. In fact, our team has put together a great activity book that is online at FamilyLifeToday.com. It’s a pdf file that you can download. It’s free. It has games, it has recipes, it has crafts, and it has activities. There are coloring pages. They’ve really done a nice job with this. You can download it, and look it over, and just print out whatever it is that you need. Of course, if you need a set of Resurrection Eggs or multiple sets, we have those at FamilyLifeToday.com. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com; and you can order as many sets of Resurrection Eggs as you need.
If you’d like a Miss PattyCake DVD—this is a DVD that’s tied together with the Resurrection Eggs. It’s appropriate for younger children. We have that in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center, as well. Go online at FamilyLifeToday.com for information about all of this material; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY, and we can get you set up.
We can add your name to the growing list of homes that are going to be participating, the “One Percenters”, who are going to be like Lynn and do this in their neighborhood and with their family. I’ll tell you what—if you do it this year, it will be an Easter like no Easter you have had before—
Dennis: —because you’re going to be celebrating the right message. You know, Bob, I’m passionate about this because many times Easter can be relegated to chocolate bunnies, Easter egg baskets—
Bob: —new shoes, new dresses.
Dennis: Yes, all about showing off our latest clothes on Easter morning. That’s not what the real message of Easter is all about. It’s about, really, the greatest news the world has ever heard. Wouldn’t you like to be a part of telling that story? My challenge to you is, “Get your kids together at dinner tonight or at breakfast tomorrow morning, and say, ‘Let’s pray about our family—whether our family should be a part of the World’s Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt.’”
I think teenagers can be a part of this, too. In fact, you may want to engage your teenagers around telling the story, using the dozen eggs that are found in the Resurrection Eggs, and the object lessons that are in there.
Bob: That’s a great idea. Just “Be Like Lynn”. Just do it. Go to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. Sign up to be a part of the World’s Largest Neighborhood Easter Egg Hunt. It will be a blast; and it will help you be focused on the right message, this year, at Easter time.
Now tomorrow, Miss PattyCake is going to join us. Jean Thomason is going to be here. We’re going to talk about some of the songs she’s written, and the DVD she’s put together, and how she has seen God use Resurrection Eggs in her ministry. I hope you can tune in for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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