In 2022, one particular brand had a twist on its annual egg hunt, producing 146 limited-edition half-white and half-milk chocolate eggs in supermarkets across the UK. Each egg was valued at a different amount ranging from £50 ($67) to a whooping £10,000 ($13,500)! People who found the limited-edition products could claim their prize by calling a phone number on the ticket beneath the foil of the egg, taking inspiration from the search for the golden ticket in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. However, there was one catch. To claim their prize, consumers had to prove that they resisted the urge to eat the treat. It’s the classic dilemma of delayed gratification. What would you choose? Would you opt for the quick sugar rush of eating the chocolate, or would you abstain and opt for the prize money?
Whilst you might dismiss this marketing campaign as a gimmick designed to inject new energy into a well-known chocolate brand to keep it ahead of its competitors, I wonder what we can learn from the secular world of promotion?
As a Messy Church leader, I know that the key festivals come up each year and am always looking for a new angle from which to tell the story of Lent, Holy Week and Easter Sunday. Fortunately, help is at hand. April’s Get Messy! session focuses on the Good Friday moment when the curtain in the temple is torn from top to bottom, symbolising how through Jesus’ death, we all have access to God once more. If you’re taking your Messy Church outdoors, try out the Messy Adventure sessions: Wild and Wilderness (Lent) and Wild Life! (Easter). This session can be done on the move or at an outside location. It highlights Christ’s victory of life over death and how the hope of renewal is witnessed through the changing seasons of the natural world. If your Messy Church has started in the last couple of years, you might gather some good ideas from the recently reprint Messy Easter. Inside its smart new cover are three complete sessions and extra ideas for Lent, Holy Week and Easter. We’ve also compiled a list of the entire Lent and Easter back catalogue.
Whichever way you choose to present Easter this year, it’s worth remembering that we’re retelling God’s story – a story that is potentially life-changing good news for anyone who will listen. Whilst familiar for those who have grown up in church, in Messy Churches that are good at connecting with people beyond the fringe of church, many children will think Easter is purely about the chocolate, delivered by the Easter bunny or discovered on the Easter egg hunt. We have an opportunity to engage with people and move them beyond the immediate endorphin release that chocolate provides and point them as the apostle Paul reminds us to ‘press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 3:14).
BRF Messy Church ministry lead