Easter Egg Hunt Gone Haywire!

This story from a four-year-old church plant in Canton, GA is unbelievable…

Part One Here (These links don’t work anymore)

“We decided if we were going to do it, we were going BIG. We rented Boling Park and decided we were going to drop 50,000 eggs from a helicopter. Instead of just a egg drop, we decided we would bring in a ton of inflatables, give away some GREAT prizes, and create the biggest event Canton has ever seen.”

They were expecting 4,000 people…over 12,000 showed up!

Part Two Here (These links don’t work anymore)

Some Quotes from part 2:

“As soon as the eggs dropped, I sounded the alarm and it happened. At once, the entire crowd rushed the field. I remember looking up and the first thing going through my head was, “That kid just got knocked down.”

“As I am scanning the field, kids are crying like crazy. HUNDREDS of kids didn’t get any eggs, HUNDREDS of kids are covered in mud, and then I hear the parents start screaming out names.”

“I was shocked at how many people in Canton carry knives!!!”

“I would do it all over again!” – (ummm???)

This is bigger and better gone terribly wrong!

Thanks JB for emailing me this story.


Filed under The Church

27 responses to “Easter Egg Hunt Gone Haywire!

  1. Renee Michael

    I was a volunteer at this event. It was totally insane. I have been to other events that this area has had in the same park, and I have never seen so many people. I was in the 10-12 year old section and was literally trampled by them. I mean, pushed down, and ran over…you get the picture. Would I do it again???? In a heartbeat!!!! 21 people came to know Jesus Chirst because of this and it was worth it all for just “one”. I have the greatest pastor of all time. He believes that Revolution can and will reach the people of Canton, GA “one” at a time. God Bless!!!

  2. “This is bigger and better gone terribly wrong!”

    Totally agree.

  3. Renee,
    Thanks so much for stopping by the site…so good to hear a volunteer’s perspective on this….

    I just want to say how proud I am of you all for reaching out to the community. And not only reaching out, but working to create community and history in your city. I hate that this event went wrong, but I want to encourage you all to keep reaching out and keep dreaming BIG! Most churches are so inwardly focused their cities don’t even know they exist!

    So to be clear…I am proud of your vision to reach your city and wish more churches would follow your lead.

  4. C. Dawn

    I was a volunteer at this event as well. And honestly, it makes me excited .. not offended, that you would think that this event “went wrong”. I think that so many people don’t understand the incredible vision that God has given our church and our pastor and we don’t see it until we pour ourself into Revolution Church and the community around us … so of course you are going to think what we did was crazy. I appreciate you thinking that you needed to put us down by saying that we did it “to big” … but believe me … nothing can stop us from reaching the community for Christ. I hope that you have the opportunity to visit our church and our community one day … you would be blown away … and definetly eat your words! 🙂

  5. “Eat your words!”…Ouuch!…sorry if you are taking this as an attack on your church or your dreams to reach your city.

    If you knew me you wouldn’t think that I was criticizing your dream for the city….I am a bigger & better guy myself and that is why this story is so intriguing to me….I can see how my post can seem too critical and doesn’t have the support element for you guys, let me explain myself.

    What I mean by “This is bigger and better gone terribly wrong!” is that the event got out of control and that was/is very unfortunate for you all. You guys were dreaming big, planning big, and doing big and it became more than you all can handle. I don’t see that as a disgrace to your church, but part of the risk reward for actually going out and reaching the world for the Kingdom of God!

    I am pumped and encouraged that you all go all out. 99.9% of churches that planned an Easter Egg hunt this past week planned it during their regular Sunday School hour and it was only for their kids and it was in the church parking lot.

    Keep serving our Lord…sorry for the confusion.
    – john

  6. Betty

    I was one parent who left an e-mail with the pastor on the day of the event regarding my son who was trampled. NO RESPONSE YET!
    “nothing can stop us from reaching the community for Christ”

  7. Betty

    I was one parent who contacted your pastor regarding my son being trample. NO RESPONSE! Why was there no reference to the true meaning of Easter? I understand the intentions of your church were for people to have a wonderful time but bottom line if it was even one persons child was hurt or injured that to me would be too many.Please don’t take what happened lightly. As long as human nature exists there will be greedy people who don’t care for others. It is terrific 21 people came to know Christ but, you can’t have the attitude that the rest of what happened didn’t matter. WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN!
    There atleast 3 volunteers that I came in contact with who were not happy with the event.
    Trusting In HIM

  8. C. Dawn

    John … did not mean to offend either. I see that you were encouraging our church as well .. it is just hard to see that. Our church gets a lot of slander for some of the “out there” things that we do sometimes … but God is bigger than that and has given our pastor such an amazing vision and our church is growing so much! A lot of crazy things happened at the egg hunt … obviously .. 🙂 .. But, unless you are sold out to the real reason why we were there .. and some people still can’t see that .. then people are only going to see the negative. Thanks for encouraging us to keep reaching Canton for God! …

  9. Mark Herring

    This Easter Egg Hunt was probably the most irresponsible thing Gary and Rev church have done. It truly is by the grace of God that no one was killed and the church sued. 3 people had heart attacks for goodness sake!!!

    This was not reaching the community for Christ. This was simple self promotion and according to Gary’s blog he is proud of that. I have been on staff at a Mega Church and have done much larger Egg hunts than this one and we didn’t have these problems. Gary, I would be happy to consult for you next year. I have ton’s of feedback for you and the team on what to do and avoid. Please for the sake of all Canton take me up on it.

    Gary shouldn’t blame the city or the red necks in Canton. He should blame himself. When you put people in desperate situations they act desperately. It’s not a result of how red their neck is. When order is lacking and you put people in chaotic situations they act accordingly.

    Gary says on his blog that they planned the best they could, But it wasn’t enough. Where were the dozens of police to direct traffic? Where were the hundreds of extra volunteers to park cars and direct people. What about shuttles to move people from remote parking lots? Why weren’t there age specific hunts at different times to limit the chaos on the field? What about steel rack portable fence to keep parents back? It works for presidential greeting lines. Google Mojo barrier. Its what they use at concerts. Why would you keep thousands of people outside a narrow bottleneck like that bridge? Logistics are not just meaningless details they are essential to an event like this. Maybe a little more time planning logistics and a little less on saturation marketing that was done would have been wise.

    God’s hand of protection was upon you guys for sure, but that does not mean it was a success. So stop pointing fingers at the city, the parents, and every other person you can find and start taking responsibility for what happened. The reality is that significantly more people left angry than happy and if they were seeking God they probably more turned off now. Take responsibility that the poor planning on your part could have led to deaths. Take responsibility that you endangered lives, hampered emergency services, needlessly delayed people, and ultimately hurt the church’s credibility with the community.

    As a person who specializes in logistics I am particularly horrified by this. And when I asked people leaving about their experience I was actually afraid for your volunteers. The sentiment of people leaving was so negative. My heart goes out to the volunteers who were treated poorly yet still protect Gary and Rev church. The volunteers have been rightly praised by Gary on his blog. However Gary also owes them a huge apology for putting them in an impossible situation.

    Gary my message to you is this: Humble yourself before this community and your flock. Own up to your mistakes. For one moment stop being the defiant, arrogant trail blazer that you claim to be and take your licks for this debacle and move on.

  10. Mark Herring

    I doubt my earlier comment will be allowed to post because Gary does a good job at containing negative feedback.

    Even when it is justified.

    We will see…

  11. This is John Carroll the guy who runs this blog…I just want to be clear….I have never been to Canton, GA and I don’t know Gary. I have heard of this church before, but never really taken a look at them more than a glance at their website a few years ago.

    I am getting a lot of emails and posts about my stance on this event. So to clear it all up:

    1. I am excited they are reaching out to the city
    2. I am disappointed in the actions of the adults that were part of creating the hysteria
    3. Obviously I think Revolution didn’t want this to happen and were expecting this to be fun and people to act normal
    4. I do not understand why people want eggs so bad. Were they told there was money in them?
    5. I have never been there, but from an outside view Gary is using the term Redneck pretty harshly.
    6. I would not post and wait for the mayor to call me, I would have gone by his/her office the next morning to apologize.
    7. I would not let this bad experience stop me either from reaching the city or doing public events just like Revolution.
    8. I think, overall, Gary sounds a little too proud of the hysteria. I could be totally misreading the posts though. I might be mixing his excitement about the size of the event with the outcome of the event.

    Just some thoughts…I wasn’t there, it is easy for all of us to have “woulda, shoulda, coulda” thoughts now.

  12. mom

    I went from almost crying over this to being boiling mad. To watch the video and know that there were little children in that mass of people who were pretty much defenseless, and to see the desperation of people clamoring for plastic trinkets was heartbreaking to me. How many kids will have that memory burned into their minds of almost being trampled to death for a stinking Easter egg.

    After reading the comments that were posted, I was intrigued enough to check out Revolution Church and read the pastor’s blog. AND THEN I GOT ANGRY! His intent from the get go was to “create buzz” in the community. How many times have I witnessed self-promoting pastors use this approach to bring people into their church – sickening. And then to have him call the citizens of his community that he proclaims to want to reach for Jesus “rednecks” – what an egotistical, judgemental, misguided “pastor”.

    I don’t know where this guy came from or what his “vision” is. With all the pretty lights and “rock star” decorations in his church, it seems to me that much of it is self-serving. How much better to spend that money pouring into the lives of those “rednecks” than to make your service so “Hollywood” – guess that creates buzz.

    21 people saved – fabulous. But how many thousands are completely turned off to “church” people now – thanks to this. Do the ends justify the means – I don’t think so.

    I have seen these kinds of stunts for decades – it’s how churches have become seen as businesses, not ministries. This “revolutionary” pastor is nothing new – same old same old – let’s go after numbers, not people. Create some form of “entertainment” to draw people in and get those folks on board with us.

    Eventually people will tire of this and realize that the way Jesus reaches people is through His people – one on one, and usually one at a time. It is tedious, yes. But that is the problem with our society today. In an era of immediate gratification, we as Christians want everyone saved and we want it quickly and with as little self-sacrifice as possible.

    Sorry if this seems harsh. I don’t normally get so worked up over these silly gimmicks, but I just don’t see the glorification of Jesus in this. Easter eggs and helicopters…..really??????

  13. Mark Herring

    To help people understand why adults were clamoring for eggs, there were some select eggs that had tickets to win a Wii and other prizes.

    It wasn’t for the candy that was in most.

  14. God is Bigger!!!

    Just to be fair…Gary also calls himself a redneck…Come check out our church before you have a bad taste for it…seeing it first hand is worth it instead of reading and trying to interpret what went on.
    My child was lost in the crowd…and the great volunteers held him in the lost in found until we found him. He was not crying until I picked him up and gave him a Great BIG hug and I started to cry.
    I gave him a egg hunt later in our back yard and he remembered that the eggs came out of a helicopter and so when he went out to get them after his nap he said that the eggs came out of the sky…he’s 3!

    If the parents would of listened but they didn’t…it wouldn’t of gotten so out of control. They were told only the children are to go out and get the eggs sit down and wait for their parents to find them…well the buzzer went and almost all the parents were on the field looking for a stupid piece of paper…their were parents picking up an egg opening it up and seeing if there was a prize in it…if there was not one then they dropped it and went to the next…(how sad) what happened to it being fun for the kids…the parents helped make it a bad experience.
    Granted we underestimated how many people were going to show up…God had something better in mind than what the church had.
    So come check out our churh instead of sitting in front of your computer bashing us this way because it’s safe.

  15. mom

    Call it bashing or what you want….you guys are the ones that put it out there for public view. Seems kind of hypocritical to post your big ole event and get bent out of shape when not everyone agrees with your views. Calling himself a redneck doesn’t make it any better. To most of these “rednecks” this is a derogatory term, much the same as if a black pastor called himself the N word and thinks that should be okay simply because he has labeled himself the same. I sit in front of my computer, the same as you are now doing. Get defensive if you must. I am much too secure in my beliefs to take offense. I have been where you are now. This will be my last response to this …be careful how you view your leadership. They are human beings too and not infallible. It is okay to question things. Just because this man is your pastor does not mean that you have to buy into EVERYTHING that he says. He needs accountability from his congregation…..not worship. And by the way, being from the south I have heard redneck all my life. It’s not nice or flattering and coming from a leader of a church it should be embarassing.

  16. Mark Herring

    I’ve been to your church several times and actually met with the staff and tried to help them with growth and production. The staff was teachable and open to change except for Gary.

    When we started talking about his speking style and lack of scripture in his messages he got defensive and defiant.

    I’m not the kind of person to bash, I’m offering constructive criticism and my services for future egg hunts. Isnt that what we are supposed to do as the body of Christ? Give to those who have need? So Gary and Rev church members can continue to live in denial about this egg hunt or accept responsibilty and move on to next year and get additional help. Remembering the lessons learned.

    Besides, what does seeing your church first hand have anything to do with the poorly executed egg hunt?

  17. laughing

    Laughing……….I’m seriously laughing at some of you right now. First of all, if you live in Canton and don’t think there are rednecks here, then you’re not from Canton or any where around here. I am from Canton born and raised; and I’m here to tell you that this town is stocked full…….yes, even in BridgeMill.
    Secondly, Revolution Church is the most amazing church that I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending. This is the ONLY church around here that isn’t caught up in themselves. Revolution does not discriminate against the color of your skin, the amount of money in your pocket, where you live, the type of lifestyle you choose to lead, the sound of your speech or your current relationship with Jesus Christ. They have one mission and one mission only: they want bring the message of Jesus Christ to everyone. You can call it a bunch of “gimmicks” if you would like, but at our church you won’t find kids sleeping in their parents laps or men yawning in a sleepy daze because of a boring or abnoxious sermon. You will find people smiling, laughing, crying, singing and seriously commiting their lives to something much greater than all the Easter egg hunts in the world. If you look up the word gimmick on Wikipedia you will find it says the following: In marketing language, a gimmick is a unique or quirky special feature that makes something “stand out” from its contemporaries. However, the special feature is typically thought to be of little relevance or use. Thus, a gimmick is a special feature for the sake of having a special feature. If you were at our church this past Sunday, you would know that what we do is far from a gimmick. We had around 1400 people in attendance (even after the “crazy” egg hunt). The fact that 21 people chose to accept our Lord and Savior into their lives is the only thing that is relevant.
    Finally, I would like to say that my three children were at the egg hunt and had nothing but a good time. They were asking why “grown ups” were smashing the eggs into little pieces, because they could have picked them up. Never once did I freak out and start crying uncontrollably. My children are well behaved, follow directions and thank GOD have common sense……….which is more than I can say for about 95% of the people who chose to come to a FREE egg hunt!!!!

  18. Mark Herring

    I’m glad I didn’t drink the cool aid when I attended Revolution church. They must put something in it to brain wash you.

    The ends do not justify the means Mr. laughing. Yes 21 people came to Christ. Praise the Lord.

    3 people had heart attacks!!! What about them, do you care if they were saved or not?

    Once again the defenders of the Egg hunt want to blame the people who attended.

  19. MARK WHO?


    I’m VERY involved in Revolution Church, and it sounds like instead of sitting in front of your computer bashing Revolution Church, you should be telling people about Jesus Christ. Oh wait it sounds like you would be great at helping sleepy old grandma churches picking out carpet colors instead. Get a life and realize that people need Jesus!!!!!!

  20. Mark Herring

    of course Gary removed the link to this page. Can’t have anyone voice a negative view of his church.


  21. God is Bigger!!!

    Or maybe it’s getting way out of hand…How old are we all? Are we all 5 years old again? instead of fighting about games, friends etc. We are now all arguing about whose church is better? Are we not suppose to be in this together as reaching the unchurched to bring them to God?
    Yes, the egg hunt got out of hand…sorry, if any of your children got hurt…But seriously, we go out and do something to reach the unchurched and our community and it’s the end of the world.
    We all need to grow up and really think about what is important in life. Do you hear your children still talking about it? probably not…unless the parents keep talking about it then you may.
    Seems the people who really are mad and aruguing is the people who call themselves Christians? Do hear anyone complaining to much who are not. They probably think it was the coolest thing ever…This is it I am not posting no more about this…May you all realize what is important in life and seriously this not one of them…will you remember this 2 months from now? or 2 years from now?

  22. Hey Guys

    Thanks for the posts and the very easy Monday Morning Quarterbacking. : )

    As a staff member and the point staff person responsible for the Egg Drop (though all staff and several key volunteers had huge roles) I would like to address a few things from the perspective of actually being involved in all aspects, not just posting a comment, attending or volunteering the day of.

    Johntalks: I appreciate your heart in this and trying to point out the craziness and everything. Obviously you didn’t expect this to become a turf war and we don’t feel like you are bashing us.

    Revolution people: While we appreciate the support, we would encourage you guys to stay away from even pointing out your perspective even though many can not understand it and will not try. Often time these forums give people a chance to be experts without experience. Even posting the nicest remark will irk others and they will look for reasons to post again and twist your words. We would ask that you refrain from posting, but understand you are big boys and girls too. : )

    MarkHerring:WOW! I really don’t no where to begin.
    First of all, kudos for using your real name as many attackers like to use the anonymous way to unload on forums. However your amazing ability to say we should have known better after the fact, when the reality is NO ONE EVER would have said in their right mind “Yeah, I actually think the population of the entire City of Canton will show up!”, is absurd. This was the largest event in the history of Canton, not our words, City of Canton’s. If you think we planned on that, then you are crazy.
    On a personal note, and since you wanted to call out the integrity of our church and our pastor as well as your criticism of the egg hunt, I was actually in the office when you dropped by the office for some “help with growth and production” and what you took as being “teachable and open to change” was in reality utter amazement at your arrogance and, as your showing here again, condescending knowledge of everything. You have been a part of egg hunts much larger than this one? Really? Maybe you have but it seems like you have an answer for everything….always after the fact and sometimes looking like you had no idea about what actually had happened that you were commenting about. I don’t remember you mentioning that you were actually AT the egg drop in any of the 6 comments here (more comments than even the blog host). You also brought up that you felt like Gary didn’t use scripture enough, which EVERY single person on staff felt was so off base that it made you look totally unaware of what you were critiquing. To also say that Gary wasn’t open to change when he actually invited you guys by the office to brainstorm and discuss is foolish. The statement that we didn’t care about the people who had heart attacks, whether they were saved or not, completely misses the point that they were at an event that was designed to get our name in the community and therefore give them a church they are familiar with and can attend.

    I will be honest with you Mark, you represent the Christians out there who like to criticize and say how things could be better all the time and long to go deeper but in reality you spend you time commenting, digging deeper and talking about things so much that you end up doing absolutely nothing to advance the Kingdom of God. I would rather take huge risks and make an impact than to just talk movements of God to death.

    To those who attended and had a bad time, we are sorry and don’t take amazement at what happened as lack of concern.

    This will likely be our only response as a staff

    Preston Porter
    Connections Pastor
    Revolution Church

  23. Mark Herring

    Dear God is Bigger,
    Yes we will remember, and again I will make this CRYSTAL CLEAR. This is not about who’s church is better. Your church is great. It’s reaching tons of people, yeah God. Keep it up. Keep doing crazy stuff. But please learn from this weekend and do it better next time. At least admit you screwed it up.

    This IS about being an adult since you bring it up. Start acting like one yourself and tell Gary to do the same. When you do something do it with excellence not half way. The way you do stuff communicates how Great our God is. Why not do it 100%

    That is all I am going to write about this. I am tired of debating Revolution church members who just do not get it.

  24. laughing

    It’s Mrs. Laughing to you sir! I’m really confused as to why you think someone would need to be brainwashed to beleive in the vision of reaching and bringing people closer to Jesus Christ. I think that Mr. Herring NEEDS to be drinking the kool aid at Revolution. If he did, he might understand the passion that the people at Revolution have towards finding “the one”; and that is one person at a time.
    As far as the people who had heart attacks, God bless them I hope they’re doing well. It is kind of strange though that people think an Easter Egg hunt caused this. Do you know that when people get to the heart attack stage they have some sort of blockage or heart disease? You can go to Google and see that studies have shown stress is not the cause of heart problems. If it took this “crazy” egg hunt to bring 21 people closer to God, then that was God’s decision…………not the people of Revolution Church.
    Futhermore, to the “mom” of this blog your comments are offensive. You must be white to make this comment, “To most of these “rednecks” this is a derogatory term, much the same as if a black pastor called himself the N word and thinks that should be okay simply because he has labeled himself the same.” Calling someone the “N Word” is completely different than calling someone a redneck. Rednecks were not sold into slavery, had their rights taken away from them or hung from a tree. You need to choose your words more carefully. The only reason we may get defensive is because we have the passion it takes to change this town. Apparently, the egg hunt didn’t “turn people off to church” as on Sunday we had our largest showing in attendance at both services. Gary has never claimed to be perfect nor has he ever done anything other than be painfully honest. People are tired of being around fake and dishonest people. That’s the draw to Revolution. It’s a real church for real people. That’s probably why Mr. Herring didn’t quite fit in.

  25. Pingback: Helicoptor Egg Drops are All The Rage this Spring! « John Carroll’s BLOG

  26. LMAO

    haha…. all i have to say about the egg drop is “Rock your face off” and for Mark Herring i googled your name with mega church and nothing came up but thanks for your views.

    Singed Listen to the “ROCKSTAR”

  27. Pingback: Flashback: Easter Egg Hunt Gone Haywire! « John Carroll's BLOG

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