When people think of Easter, many times they think of the Easter bunny, Easter egg hunts, Sunday services, and celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection. Many times, Easter Sunday is one of the highest attended services in a church all year. Pastors and church planters know that this is the time of year to reach those who might not otherwise attend church. Easter 2018 found multiple churches in Montana using creative ways to reach out to their communities.
Outdoorsmen Church in Missoula hosted their second annual Easter egg hunt geared specifically towards children in foster or adopted homes. The church hosted the hunt at their South Missoula campus and saw over fifty children attend. Kids, guardians, foster parents, birth parents, and even past foster parents came out to hunt eggs in the safe, non-competitive environment. Volunteers from the church stuffed over 5,000 eggs, giving each child an opportunity to find around 100 eggs and receive special prizes. Sacha Hasenyager, wife of Pastor Mark Hasenyager of Outdoorsmen Church, says kids in foster or adopted situations often have enough stress, competition, and pushing that they wanted to provide an environment where these kids didn’t feel those pressures, but were able to simply have a great time. In only its second year, this event has even caught the attention of the state foster system which now advertises it on their website as a safe place for kids.
Pastor Caleb Groteluschen (image at top) at Capstone Church in Helena says that this year they decided to keep Easter pretty simple in hopes of reaching out to people in a relaxed and laid-back environment. They hosted a bounce house, which ended up inside the building due to weather, and a breakfast catered by a local bakery. Serving breakfast at 9:00 a.m., with service following at 10:00 a.m., people were able to be home in time to spend the day with family. Capstone had their highest Sunday attendance yet with around 90 people. They continued the Easter excitement the week following with a baptism and BBQ. Working on specific follow-up and continuing outreach, Pastor Groteluschen is looking forward to where the Lord takes this Easter outreach.
Pastor Darren Hales says of the Big Sky Fellowship outreach, “Over the last 12 years, Big Sky Fellowship has provided an egg hunt for our community on Easter Sunday with eggs, prizes, games, relays, cotton candy, popcorn, and a rock wall.” He notes that it is always greatly appreciated, and it has served as a bridge to their neighbors. This year over 500 people attend and about 50 completed a registration card. With these cards, the church makes a simple doorstep visit with cookies, an invitation to church, and information about upcoming events. Through these visits, the door has been opened to several Gospel presentations. Pastor Hales said, “We moved this event to our new facility this year and promoted with banners and signs. We had 198 on Easter Sunday to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with 2 professions of faith. We’ve had several families visit the church in the weeks to follow and ask spiritual questions. Our Egg Hunt gives us great exposure and relational opportunities to share Jesus.”
Elevation Church in Billings stretched their creative wings and decided to spread the Easter outreach over several weeks. Pastor Dave Carroll said in the weeks leading up to Easter, he started speaking about inviting friends and family and the importance of introducing friends and family members to Jesus. This included a three-week sermon series entitled “Dead No More.” The topic of the first week addressed what it means to be dead, without Jesus. The church also equipped its people with the tools to invite their friends and family to worship. The second week, Easter Sunday, Pastor Dave spoke on the subject of Jesus conquering death. They also had some fun outreach activities that morning, including a Krispy Kreme wall of donuts, bounce houses for the kids, and free Cadbury Eggs. On Easter Sunday, Elevation had their highest attendance ever, with 601 attenders. They kept this momentum up the week following Easter, when they showed videos of individuals who had been saved and are “Dead No More.” The attendance has continued to be up, and Pastor Carroll is riding the wave of new people by starting a series called “40 Days in the Word” to teach people how to spend time with God.
Multiple churches in Montana used the Easter season to reach lost people with the Word of God. The Lord continues to work all over the state with people coming to salvation in many towns.