Why Preteens Don’t Think Easter is a Big Deal (and How to Fix It)

Written by Sean Sweet

Do the preteens in your ministry know why we celebrate Easter? I mean – they probably know that it’s the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection, but do they know why that’s a big deal?

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Recently, I asked my 5th grade daughter, “Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Easter way more than we celebrate Good Friday?”

She thought about it, and said, “I’m thinking about it NOW.” And then after a little more thought, she said, “Yeah – I don’t get it. Why do we celebrate Easter?”

I think she meant something like: “Why do we celebrate Easter at all? It was on the Cross that Jesus paid for our sins and made a way for us to have eternal life. What’s the big deal about Jesus raising from the dead?”

I would venture to say that most preteens don’t understand why we celebrate Easter. Here’s how the conversation might go:

“Why do we celebrate Easter?”

“Because it’s the day Jesus rose from the grave.”

“OK. So what? I mean it’s cool that he did that, but why do we celebrate that?”

“Um….”

A “well-churched” 7th grader walked into my office as I was writing this blog, and I tested my hypothesis on him. It almost went word for word what I wrote above. The only thing different was his last answer. He said, “Um…I guess I never really thought about that before.”

Honestly, I was a Christian for many years (I received salvation in my early 20’s) before I had a sufficient answer to this question myself.

I don’t think it’s enough to say to our preteens, “We celebrate Easter because Jesus rose from grave.”

I think we need to help our preteens understand WHY THAT is such a big deal; WHY his resurrection is a reason for us to celebrate.

The importance of the Resurrection cannot be understated.

Paul says it like this: “And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) Paul goes on to say that if Jesus wasn’t raised from the dead, we are still in our sins (v.17) and Christians are, of all people, to be pitied the most (v.19).

Easter is important! The Resurrection is important! Let’s help the preteens in our ministries understand why.

I’M THE PRESIDENT

One way to help preteens understand why we celebrate Easter is what I call the President Illustration.

Imagine I tell you that I’m the President of the United States. You’re not certain that it’s true, but you want to believe that I am. Then, on Friday, I write an executive order that says, “You will be given candy every month for the rest of your life starting two years from today.”

Would you celebrate that Friday? You might…but there’s still a question as to whether or not I’m the President at all. If I’m not the President, then I can’t really write an executive order, can I?

Now let’s say on Sunday, I do something that proves to you that I’m the President of the United States.

Now, you celebrate! You celebrate because now you know that I am, in fact, the President, and it’s within my power to write the executive order that I wrote on Friday.

What Jesus did on Friday means nothing unless he’s the Son of God…and Sunday proves that Jesus is the Son of God.

What Jesus did on Friday means nothing unless he has the power to overcome sin and death….and Sunday proves that Jesus has that power.

GET RICH MY WAY

Another illustration to help preteens understand why we celebrate Easter is “Get Rich My Way”.

Imagine that a woman claims to know the secrets to getting rich, and she’s written them down in a book called “Get Rich My Way”. However, this author is broke. She has no money to her name, and it’s not because she’s given it all away. She’s never made any money herself. She’s just broke.

Would you buy the book from her?

You probably wouldn’t. You probably wouldn’t believe that she actually knows the secrets to getting rich, because she herself isn’t rich.

Jesus promises eternal life. But can he deliver? Here’s what Paul says:

“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” -1 Corinthians 15:20-23

If Jesus wrote a book called, “You will have a Resurrected Eternal Body Through Me”, I would buy it! Because of Easter! Jesus’ promises that we can have eternal life through him are believable because he himself has eternal life!

Jesus is the FIRST FRUITS of what we have to look forward to! And that’s a reason to celebrate!

THE THING I CAN’T DO 

Maybe the greatest reason to celebrate Easter is because it proves that EVERYTHING Jesus said is truth!

Have your preteens think about Jesus’ disciples for a minute.

After Jesus arrest, what were the Disciples doing? After the Crucifixion, what were the Disciples doing?

They were scattered. They were denying that they knew Jesus. They were hiding and fearful.

But then, fast forward to after the Resurrection. Now we see the Disciples acting very differently. WHY?

They already had the promises from Jesus, but now they had the proof.

Now, I could make up a religion. I could pretend to heal people. I could say I was the Son of God.

Ask your preteens how of them think they could do these same things, if they thought about it long enough and tried really hard. Most of them will see that they could make up a religion and pretend to heal people. And they certainly could say the words, “I am the Son of God.”

Now ask them this: How many of you could die, be buried in a tomb, and on the third day come back to life in a resurrected, glorified body?

They’ll start to see why the Resurrection is such a big deal!

The Resurrection separates Jesus and Christianity from other religions.

Many people can make up a religion. But only Jesus could raise himself from the dead in a resurrected, glorified body.

Easter changed the disciples.

Easter changed Jesus’ teachings from “good ideas” to THE TRUTH OF GOD HIMSELF.

Easter changed the world.

And that’s a reason to celebrate!

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Sean Pic 2

Blog post written by Sean Sweet.

Sean is the Community Facilitator for FourFiveSix.org, and is dedicated to raising the value of your ministry to preteens.

Check out FourFiveSix’s Preteen Ministry Leader’s Online Conference coming in April.

2 Responses to “Why Preteens Don’t Think Easter is a Big Deal (and How to Fix It)

  • Great post, Sean. Sometimes it’s easy for us to forget that kids don’t know everything we know. Also, it’s easy in the busyness of getting things ready for Easter at church to forget what it is about. Thank for for the reminder.

    • Sean Sweet
      6 years ago

      Thanks for the feedback, Jeff! I hope your Easter was a good one!