How to help your family prepare for Easter

Making a plan for family devotions any time of the year

April 12, 2022

If I want red and green M&Ms, I can often find them in late September, three months before the day we commemorate Christ’s incarnation. However, if I want a sugar rush from a Cadbury Cream Egg or some Peeps, the window of availability is much more limited for the Easter season. If candy is any measurement, our culture seems more eager to emphasize Christ’s incarnation to a greater degree than his substitutionary sacrifice. Yet, as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 15:3–4, Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection are of first importance for the Christian faith. Since it is so central to our faith, it deserves more than a weekend of celebration. 

If we just tell the stories of Jesus’ death on Friday and resurrection on Sunday, we have to leave out a lot of information. To understand the significance of Easter and Christ’s resurrection, people, including children, need to have a bigger picture of him than a baby in a manger and a dying man on a cross. We need to better understand all of Scripture, which is usually more than a weekly Sunday School class can provide. It would be helpful to use the week before –– or the year before –– to prepare our families for understanding the wonder of the resurrection.

Making a plan

The time leading up to Easter is a perfect opportunity to talk with your kids about Jesus preaching, traveling, having friends, doing wonderful works, and being human in every way but also perfectly God. Consider doing a special focus in your family devotions on Easter. This could be the start of an ongoing pattern of family discipleship. The chance of success in creating a habit will improve if you have at least the beginnings of a plan.

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. The goal of family devotions isn’t to be the most creative or exciting. You really shouldn’t discover anything that someone else hasn’t already taught. But along the way, you will discover that your whole family will be more aware of Christ. He will be closer to the front of your mind for longer periods of time throughout your days, and you will be more connected to each other as you ponder his life, ministry, and nature. This is a blessing whether you begin the week or the year before Easter.

Here are a few suggestions for beginning:

Go ahead and start, even if you haven’t found the perfect schedule or resource. Consistently doing something imperfect is better than waiting for the perfect thing to drop in your lap. 

Pick a time of day or part of your family’s routine to link with the devotional activity: before or after a meal, before bed, or as soon as you walk in the door in the evening. 

Keep it short and simple, especially if your children are very young or this is your first attempt at family devotions. 

Use multiple senses. Seeing and hearing are obvious, but it’s good for the children to vocalize, too, by reading, reciting, or repeating. Touch and motion can be engaged by coloring, song motions, sitting, and standing. 

Give the older children more of a role. They can read the Scripture passage or an accompanying devotion. They can cue up a song or hymn. Ask them to close in prayer. 

Keep it centered on the Bible. Devotional books can be a great resource but cannot replace the reading of passages, books, and the whole of Scripture. Let your kids see you handle a physical Bible as you read to them, and encourage them to follow along or to look up passages in their own copies of God’s Word.

Don’t quit if you miss a day or two. Just pick up on the next opportunity and carry on.

Helpful resources

We live in an era with an amazing abundance of resources. Whether for this year or next, here are a few ideas assorted by timeframe:

More than a month to go: One of my favorites is the Jesus Storybook Bible, which you can get through in this timeframe by reading 1-2 chapters per day. As another example is a 40-day devotional for families that works through the names of Jesus and their meaning. There are many other good resources available in different formats and price ranges.

Two weeks until Easter: Try reading one parable and one miracle from Matthew every day until Palm Sunday. 

Beginning on Palm Sunday: Read from Scripture or a biblically accurate storybook about Jesus’ triumphal entry. Each day, read a little more, leading up to the crucifixion on Friday, burial on Saturday, and resurrection on Easter.


Family discipleship is best accomplished on an ongoing basis, embedded within the normal patterns of life. If your church emphasizes the Easter story through sermons or children’s curriculum, make connections and encourage your children to as well. If you are able to get started on family devotions this Easter, carry the habit forward.

We are called to teach our children diligently as we walk along (Deut 6:7) Let them see the joy of seeing Jesus fill your heart. As J. I. Packer writes in Knowing God, “we turn each truth that we learn about God into matter for meditation before God, leading to prayer and praise to God.” May this Easter season be the beginning of a pattern of family discipleship that has a generational impact for the Kingdom of God. This is a good habit to adopt whether it is the week before, the year before, or just after Easter. 

Andrew Spencer

Andrew Spencer, Ph.D., lives in Monroe, Michigan, with his wife and three children. He is an active member and Sunday School teacher at CrossPointe Church. He has written or edited The Christian Mind of C. S. Lewis and Doctrines in Shades of Green. He regularly writes at www.EthicsAndCulture.com. Read More

Jennifer Spencer

Jennifer Spencer lives in Monroe, Michigan, with her husband and three children. She is a home educator and serves women and children in various ministries at CrossPointe Church. She is author of Forty Names of Jesus: A Lenten Devotional for Families. Read More

Article 12: The Future of AI

We affirm that AI will continue to be developed in ways that we cannot currently imagine or understand, including AI that will far surpass many human abilities. God alone has the power to create life, and no future advancements in AI will usurp Him as the Creator of life. The church has a unique role in proclaiming human dignity for all and calling for the humane use of AI in all aspects of society.

We deny that AI will make us more or less human, or that AI will ever obtain a coequal level of worth, dignity, or value to image-bearers. Future advancements in AI will not ultimately fulfill our longings for a perfect world. While we are not able to comprehend or know the future, we do not fear what is to come because we know that God is omniscient and that nothing we create will be able to thwart His redemptive plan for creation or to supplant humanity as His image-bearers.

Genesis 1; Isaiah 42:8; Romans 1:20-21; 5:2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2 Timothy 1:7-9; Revelation 5:9-10

Article 11: Public Policy

We affirm that the fundamental purposes of government are to protect human beings from harm, punish those who do evil, uphold civil liberties, and to commend those who do good. The public has a role in shaping and crafting policies concerning the use of AI in society, and these decisions should not be left to those who develop these technologies or to governments to set norms.

We deny that AI should be used by governments, corporations, or any entity to infringe upon God-given human rights. AI, even in a highly advanced state, should never be delegated the governing authority that has been granted by an all-sovereign God to human beings alone. 

Romans 13:1-7; Acts 10:35; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 10: War

We affirm that the use of AI in warfare should be governed by love of neighbor and the principles of just war. The use of AI may mitigate the loss of human life, provide greater protection of non-combatants, and inform better policymaking. Any lethal action conducted or substantially enabled by AI must employ 5 human oversight or review. All defense-related AI applications, such as underlying data and decision-making processes, must be subject to continual review by legitimate authorities. When these systems are deployed, human agents bear full moral responsibility for any actions taken by the system.

We deny that human agency or moral culpability in war can be delegated to AI. No nation or group has the right to use AI to carry out genocide, terrorism, torture, or other war crimes.

Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 1:16-17; Psalm 37:28; Matthew 5:44; 22:37-39; Romans 13:4

Article 9: Security

We affirm that AI has legitimate applications in policing, intelligence, surveillance, investigation, and other uses supporting the government’s responsibility to respect human rights, to protect and preserve human life, and to pursue justice in a flourishing society.

We deny that AI should be employed for safety and security applications in ways that seek to dehumanize, depersonalize, or harm our fellow human beings. We condemn the use of AI to suppress free expression or other basic human rights granted by God to all human beings.

Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-14

Article 8: Data & Privacy

We affirm that privacy and personal property are intertwined individual rights and choices that should not be violated by governments, corporations, nation-states, and other groups, even in the pursuit of the common good. While God knows all things, it is neither wise nor obligatory to have every detail of one’s life open to society.

We deny the manipulative and coercive uses of data and AI in ways that are inconsistent with the love of God and love of neighbor. Data collection practices should conform to ethical guidelines that uphold the dignity of all people. We further deny that consent, even informed consent, although requisite, is the only necessary ethical standard for the collection, manipulation, or exploitation of personal data—individually or in the aggregate. AI should not be employed in ways that distort truth through the use of generative applications. Data should not be mishandled, misused, or abused for sinful purposes to reinforce bias, strengthen the powerful, or demean the weak.

Exodus 20:15, Psalm 147:5; Isaiah 40:13-14; Matthew 10:16 Galatians 6:2; Hebrews 4:12-13; 1 John 1:7 

Article 7: Work

We affirm that work is part of God’s plan for human beings participating in the cultivation and stewardship of creation. The divine pattern is one of labor and rest in healthy proportion to each other. Our view of work should not be confined to commercial activity; it must also include the many ways that human beings serve each other through their efforts. AI can be used in ways that aid our work or allow us to make fuller use of our gifts. The church has a Spirit-empowered responsibility to help care for those who lose jobs and to encourage individuals, communities, employers, and governments to find ways to invest in the development of human beings and continue making vocational contributions to our lives together.

We deny that human worth and dignity is reducible to an individual’s economic contributions to society alone. Humanity should not use AI and other technological innovations as a reason to move toward lives of pure leisure even if greater social wealth creates such possibilities.

Genesis 1:27; 2:5; 2:15; Isaiah 65:21-24; Romans 12:6-8; Ephesians 4:11-16

Article 6: Sexuality

We affirm the goodness of God’s design for human sexuality which prescribes the sexual union to be an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman in the lifelong covenant of marriage.

We deny that the pursuit of sexual pleasure is a justification for the development or use of AI, and we condemn the objectification of humans that results from employing AI for sexual purposes. AI should not intrude upon or substitute for the biblical expression of sexuality between a husband and wife according to God’s design for human marriage.

Genesis 1:26-29; 2:18-25; Matthew 5:27-30; 1 Thess 4:3-4

Article 5: Bias

We affirm that, as a tool created by humans, AI will be inherently subject to bias and that these biases must be accounted for, minimized, or removed through continual human oversight and discretion. AI should be designed and used in such ways that treat all human beings as having equal worth and dignity. AI should be utilized as a tool to identify and eliminate bias inherent in human decision-making.

We deny that AI should be designed or used in ways that violate the fundamental principle of human dignity for all people. Neither should AI be used in ways that reinforce or further any ideology or agenda, seeking to subjugate human autonomy under the power of the state.

Micah 6:8; John 13:34; Galatians 3:28-29; 5:13-14; Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 12:10

Article 4: Medicine

We affirm that AI-related advances in medical technologies are expressions of God’s common grace through and for people created in His image and that these advances will increase our capacity to provide enhanced medical diagnostics and therapeutic interventions as we seek to care for all people. These advances should be guided by basic principles of medical ethics, including beneficence, non-maleficence, autonomy, and justice, which are all consistent with the biblical principle of loving our neighbor.

We deny that death and disease—effects of the Fall—can ultimately be eradicated apart from Jesus Christ. Utilitarian applications regarding healthcare distribution should not override the dignity of human life. Fur- 3 thermore, we reject the materialist and consequentialist worldview that understands medical applications of AI as a means of improving, changing, or completing human beings.

Matthew 5:45; John 11:25-26; 1 Corinthians 15:55-57; Galatians 6:2; Philippians 2:4

Article 3: Relationship of AI & Humanity

We affirm the use of AI to inform and aid human reasoning and moral decision-making because it is a tool that excels at processing data and making determinations, which often mimics or exceeds human ability. While AI excels in data-based computation, technology is incapable of possessing the capacity for moral agency or responsibility.

We deny that humans can or should cede our moral accountability or responsibilities to any form of AI that will ever be created. Only humanity will be judged by God on the basis of our actions and that of the tools we create. While technology can be created with a moral use in view, it is not a moral agent. Humans alone bear the responsibility for moral decision making.

Romans 2:6-8; Galatians 5:19-21; 2 Peter 1:5-8; 1 John 2:1

Article 2: AI as Technology

We affirm that the development of AI is a demonstration of the unique creative abilities of human beings. When AI is employed in accordance with God’s moral will, it is an example of man’s obedience to the divine command to steward creation and to honor Him. We believe in innovation for the glory of God, the sake of human flourishing, and the love of neighbor. While we acknowledge the reality of the Fall and its consequences on human nature and human innovation, technology can be used in society to uphold human dignity. As a part of our God-given creative nature, human beings should develop and harness technology in ways that lead to greater flourishing and the alleviation of human suffering.

We deny that the use of AI is morally neutral. It is not worthy of man’s hope, worship, or love. Since the Lord Jesus alone can atone for sin and reconcile humanity to its Creator, technology such as AI cannot fulfill humanity’s ultimate needs. We further deny the goodness and benefit of any application of AI that devalues or degrades the dignity and worth of another human being. 

Genesis 2:25; Exodus 20:3; 31:1-11; Proverbs 16:4; Matthew 22:37-40; Romans 3:23

Article 1: Image of God

We affirm that God created each human being in His image with intrinsic and equal worth, dignity, and moral agency, distinct from all creation, and that humanity’s creativity is intended to reflect God’s creative pattern.

We deny that any part of creation, including any form of technology, should ever be used to usurp or subvert the dominion and stewardship which has been entrusted solely to humanity by God; nor should technology be assigned a level of human identity, worth, dignity, or moral agency.

Genesis 1:26-28; 5:1-2; Isaiah 43:6-7; Jeremiah 1:5; John 13:34; Colossians 1:16; 3:10; Ephesians 4:24