For senior pastors Mark and Tasha Bintliff and children’s pastor Shawn Roessler, the New Creation Church annual Easter egg hunt is much more than a game.
“The Easter egg hunt is really dynamic lesson in that it is less about the Easter Bunny, and more about really understanding God’s giving in Christ and the eggs, and the gifts that are in them,” Mark Bintliff said.
Bintliff said that when he first started brainstorming with his team 13 years ago, he wanted to have a bigger impact and benefit to the community through an event, bringing a broad group of people together.
That’s when a team member came up with the idea for a free community Easter egg hunt.
“We just decided to go for it,” Bintliff said.
It began with a strip of grass and about 100 children.
“Even at that, we underestimated. So we had to run up to City Market to get some extra candy,” Bintliff said. “It’s gone from about a hundred, to last year when we had almost a thousand.”
Bintliff said he had no idea if it was going to be a bust or a boom.
Over a decade later, the Holy Saturday event is still going strong, growing every year at the church property just beyond Canyon Creek east of New Castle.
“I love having the Easter Egg hunt on our property. I love having all the kids come out,” Pastor Tasha Bintliff said.
“Really, for many people it is an introduction, just coming out for that. It lets them know we are here,” she said. “There are new people every year that we get to meet from our community — just knowing there are great things happening here, the Easter egg hunt really brings people to that.”
Every year, it takes 150 volunteers for the church to organize the event that usually spans less than two minutes.
“The people that volunteer are incredible,” Mark Bintliff said. “We have an amazing group of volunteers, they are the key to pulling off the event.”
Shawn Roessler has been coordinating the event since 2011.
“We start planning in January, bringing our volunteers on board,” she said.
After ordering supplies, the church asks its church members to adopt a box and help fill the plastic eggs with candy and prizes.
“It is incredible how much planning goes into the event that only lasts moments,” Tasha Bintliff said.
With the help of 20 volunteers, the church hides 16,000 eggs for the event.
“It takes about an hour and a half to spread them out,” Roessler added.
Some of the eggs have white tickets hiding inside, and the children can bring those back to church on Easter Sunday, where they have the opportunity to win more prizes.
“It is a really fun day for the kids, and it’s the best thing we do all year,” Roessler said.
“The reason we have this, is because we really love our community and just want to be able to reach out to them, not just in something that’s fun, but reach out and draw them into the message about how much God loves them and how much Christ did for them because of that love,” Mark Bintliff said.
“This is just one way that we can make it really fun, family oriented, but the impact of it is really much deeper.”