How to: Easter Investigation

If you work in kid ministry you’ve probably been thinking, working, consuming, creative brainstorming, and even dreaming about Easter services.

It’s just around the corner and finding a relevant way to engage kids with the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection can sometimes present more of a challenge then you’d think.

I’m the first to advocate for fun in kid ministry but when you break out the Easter Eggs and bunny games you still lack a great way to get into the true story of Easter.

The thing about it is the story of Easter starts out pretty gritty. Jesus is beaten, thrown in front of a judge, and then brutally crucified. How do you paint that picture in a way that’s appropriate for a young kid?

Last year we approached the Easter services with a unique idea. Was there a way we could let the kids step into the Easter story and experience what it was all about? We wanted it to be fun, engaging, and exciting but also explain the true meaning of Easter. Not only that but we wanted it to explain the miracles of Jesus fulfilling prophecies, the fact that crowds of people saw him die, and the impossible nature of his resurrection being faked or somehow made up.

So we created a walk-through Easter experience that allowed our kids in our environment to step into the story as detectives. Picture Pink Panther meets the Easter story. So they went off on a P.I. Adventure becoming the junior detectives looking for pieces of evidence to crack the 2000 year old cold case, of what happened to Jesus body.

Our first scene was the detective office. It was also the set for the rest of the videos that we recorded. Here they got a badge and a bag of evidence and the detective actor sent them on their case to find out what happened to Jesus body. We also recorded this scene just in case our detective character got sick or if we wanted to do it again the next year only on video.
City gate
This was the second scene that the “junior detectives” would walk to. It was set outside the city of Jerusalem where an onlooker who had seen Jesus’ triumphal entry told them the story. The screen in the picture we used to project an image of Jerusalem. Here the actor presented the fact that Jesus fulfilled countless of prophecies, something only God could do. 
This was the third scene that the “junior detectives” toured to and it was the Garden of Gethsemane. Here the high priests’ servant told the detectives how he was miraculously healed by Jesus when Peter attacked him as the Roman soldiers came to arrest Jesus.
pilates court
The fourth scene was Pilate’s court. Here junior detectives were told that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God and to have a Kingdom of his own. They also learn from the actor’s portrayal of Pilate, that though he protested, Pilate would sentence Jesus to death.
The next to last scene here portrayed by an actor portraying either Mary or a Roman soldier depending on who we had available. The detectives were told that Jesus did in fact die on a Roman cross and that outside of a miracle there would be no way he could’ve came off that cross alive or been healed after the fact. 
Here the junior detectives got to examine the tomb itself. They saw first hand how despite the fact that Jesus had in fact died, his body was no longer there. The detective on the video walks through the evidence to the conclusion, that Jesus had to have been who he claimed to be, the Son of God and that His body was no longer in the tomb. 

After each scene we had the detective on video explain the evidence that they had gathered and set up the next scene with a question. We thought this was a great way to let the kids interact with the story rather than simply be told it. We also thought it was a great way to still deliver dynamite content and apologetic facts without losing their interest.

If you’re interested in trying to do something like this in your ministry, you can find many of the files that we used here. We made sure to have a hand out to give to parents afterwards, a version of that is included in here. In our large group presentation we picked up right where the investigation left off, stating that if Jesus rose from the dead, what does that mean for us. We included a presentation of the Gospel that we then condensed down and put into our parent handout. For that presentation we used a product we had purchased so that content isn’t included in the above link.

This Easter whether you use this content or your own I hope that you make the story of Easter come to life for the kids that you influence. Easter eggs, bunnies, and candy are all fun but when we can work to make the story of Easter engaging and accessible to kids at their level it can change entire families!

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