Sharing the Light in the Dark

Sharing the Light in the Dark

By Stephanie Heading, managing editor


Q: What do you get when you have 180 kids, flashlights, and a dark night?

A: You get a unique Easter outreach event—the Nighttime Easter Egg Hunt!

For the past six years, Central Baptist Church has sponsored the Nighttime Easter Egg Hunt as a community outreach in its hometown of Williamsburg, a village of 2,570 people in Clermont County, east of Cincinnati. 

“It’s typically just like a regular Easter Egg Hunt except it’s dark and they use flashlights,” Pastor Brad Whiteford said. “For some reason, adding the flashlights makes it a totally different experience for the kids.”

For some reason, adding the flashlights makes it a totally different experience for the kids.

On Saturday, a week prior to Easter the event kicks off with free food. “We usually do food before we do any activities, so we had hot dogs, popcorn, bottled water, coffee, hot chocolate,” Whiteford said. 

“We had our parking lot full before we were ever supposed to start at seven o’clock which is not normal. And this year we had all sorts of people.” Whiteford noted that 180 children, toddlers through sixth grade, were part of the total attendance of 400-500 people. 

For the first time, The S.O.S. Blacklight Drama Team from Batavia performed for the children. “Basically, it’s a blacklight puppet show,” Whiteford said. “They put on a 40 minute presentation that was gospel focused and then that allowed us to use the Evangecube to come out and share the gospel with the kids.”

The team’s performance was a hit with the children. “They were paying attention. They were clapping and singing along.” Twenty-two children came forward after the program wanting more information on following Jesus. 

They were paying attention. They were clapping and singing.

“I think we were excited as a church because we really tried to figure out how to do a gospel presentation that was fun for the kids and this just seemed to work with what we are trying to do,” Whiteford said. “When we asked the Blacklight Team to come along with us, I really think that was kind of the secret sauce.”

The egg hunt followed the gospel performance. “We divide the hunts into age groups. We have toddlers to four-year-olds, kindergarten and first grade, second and third grade, and fourth through sixth grade.” The hunt is the shortest part of the evening. “Now the egg hunt really only takes two point five minutes. It’s not long.”

In addition to the novel time for an egg hunt, Central BC also has an interesting and cost effective plastic egg approach. 

“I don’t want to say the word ‘lazy,’ but we’re lazy. We don’t put anything inside the eggs,” Whiteford said. “We like to keep our eggs from year to year to keep that cost down because if you give the eggs away, the eggs cost.” 

Instead, children collect the eggs and turn them back in and receive a bag of candy. Each child keeps one egg and takes it to the prize distribution area to redeem the egg for a prize.

“We were concerned at one point that we weren’t going to have kids hunt for eggs because they would be wise and go ‘it doesn’t really matter if I do this. I’m gonna get a prize and candy anyway,’ but that didn’t seem to be an issue.”

The egg hunt was a success, and children heard the gospel. An evangelism grant from the State Convention of Baptists in Ohio partially sponsored the event, and Central BC used the funds in two ways. 

“One, that helped us to be able to give a monetary gift to the Blacklight Team because they also do mission trips and stuff like that they self-fund, so it helped us be able to help them.”

The church also bought 200 Easter devotional books for families from Lifeway. Each child received one. “We wanted to give them something that we thought they might use at some point.”

For Central BC, a church of 40-60 in attendance on Sunday mornings, the egg hunt is an all hands-on deck event. “I would say we probably had at least 35 of our adults there doing it. Usually, the ones that can’t do it are the ones that are just not physically able. We try to be as accommodating for people as possible so they can be there to do something.”

After all the preparation and work, Whiteford says his church is pleased with how this year’s Nighttime Easter Egg Hunt turned out. “I think we as a church are excited this year because we finally accomplished all the things we wanted to.”

The S.O.S. Blacklight Drama Team performed during the Nighttime Easter Egg Hunt at Central Baptist Church, Williamsburg.