Baptist church launches national virtual Easter egg hunt

Simply by playing video games with his children, Curtis James came up with a ministry idea that went nationwide.

The virtual Easter egg hunt, hosted on a Minecraft server on Easter Sunday, April 12, stemmed from the desire of Tate Springs Baptist Church in Texas to engage entire families, both adults and children, even as meeting together was not an option during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“After looking through some online options, my mind went to a game I had played with my own children,” said James, family pastor at Tate Springs, who added that using the popular game that allows people to interact virtually while building made sense, because “it was a place most kids have already been that we could gather together for Bible Study, fun and an Easter egg hunt.”

Initially, the plan was to serve the church family. But when others became aware of the idea, interest grew — and James quickly realized more people would be hunting virtual Easter eggs than they had planned. The National Esports Association, a nonprofit educational organization, stepped in to offer free expertise and resources.

Pastor Jared Wellman said the gospel was shared with around 1,000 people during the event. By Monday, April 13, 13 people had responded, wanting to know more about accepting Christ. A total of 600 players, most between ages 8 and 12, participated in the four-plus-hour event.

The event garnered widespread attention, including from secular news outlets, because of its creativity. “There’s a lot of bad news out there right now, and celebrating the resurrection together is the best news,” James said. “We want everyone to know that Jesus is alive, and that even in dark times we can celebrate who He is and what He has done.”