By DYM Author:
First, I have to say that I didn’t grow up in a church that celebrated Lent. Actually, in 14 years of doing youth ministry, I have never worked at a church that officially participated in Lent. So why am I writing this blog post? I don’t think your church has to “officially” celebrate Lent for you and your student ministry to appreciate and participate in this ancient season leading up to Easter.
Over the last 10 years I have come to realize that we all need resurrection. I appreciate Lent because it provides a space for us as youth workers and for our students to see our need for resurrection and find hope that Jesus can actually give it to us.
Here are 3 practical reasons celebrating Lent could be just what your student ministry needs right now:
- Seasons are a natural chance for catalytic growth.
Now more than ever, we need creative ways to re-engage students after the pandemic has created a new normal. We all love holidays and seasons. They are a natural break in the monotony of life. They reinvigorate our passion and our hope. We can harness this anticipation of a new season by participating in Lent with our students. Since things are more distant now, how do we meet them where they are at (social media) and prayerfully challenge them to take a step towards Jesus? If your ministry is struggling to gain traction or if students are bogged down with the hustle and grind of over-programmed schedules, this could be the spark that is a catalyst for growth in your students—whether Lent has always been sacred in your youth ministry, or if you’ve never incorporated it at all. The Holy Spirit can use the most out-of-the box means to draw students to Himself.
- We are an addicted and deeply distracted people that need discipline.
Youth pastors, parents, and students alike are legitimately addicted to screens! This can greatly hinder our ability to connect with God and His Word. This is where Lent provides a natural space for repentance which includes not only giving up unhealthy habits but taking up a new way of living and thinking. Participating in the 40-day Lenten journey can be an opportunity for students to adopt spiritual disciplines together like fasting, prayer, Bible meditation, silence and solitude, and journaling so they can learn to “feed themselves” the Bible for a lifetime! When we deny ourselves and replace habits that are subtly destroying us, we will hear from God in a way that we never have before. God wants our undivided attention! Lent is a perfect reminder of that truth and a chance to actually give it to Him.
- We desperately need accountability.
God did not create man to be alone. Yet, we all drift into following Jesus alone at times. Lent is a built in, “let’s do this together!” It is an opportunity to create some shared experiences that develop community in our youth ministries and in the families in our churches. When everyone is going through a study or giving something up together, it’s unforced accountability. Students and parents can renew each other’s faith because they are on this journey as a unit. I want to do everything short of sin to incentivize and make memorable and accessible the Good News that we will be celebrating at Easter.
Winter is almost over. Resurrection is coming. Easter is coming. Growth is coming. Let’s help prepare our students and their families for it during this Lenten season!
Get Sabrina’s latest Lent resource, Lent: Grow On Your Own Challenge, Jesus’ Last Moves, for 50% off on Tuesday, February 22 ONLY. Use code: LENT50
Whether your church annually practices the observance of Lent or this is the first time you and your youth ministry are considering it, check out some great resources to stir-up life-change in the hearts of your students and revival in your ministry: Lent Resources.