It’s less than six weeks until Ash Wednesday. Are you ready with your Lenten plans? If not, here are five suggestions for congregation-wide emphases that you still have time to implement. Some of them you can simply choose to adopt yourself and invite others to join with you, some others will need a little more planning.
- Write a thank you note each day. Encourage people to write a thank you email, or (better) a written thank you note every day to someone who touched their life. It could be someone within the congregation, a family member, or someone from their past. Step up to do it yourself as they do. You could even order post cards with inspirational images and quotes on them, and distribute them to the congregation so they can get started. Writing a thank you note each day is the practice I’m going to take on for myself this Lent.
- Engage in a “news fast.” Take a break from reading, watching and listening to the news. In the current climate, it could be a wonderful gift, and a great thing to do for your spiritual life. Invite people to take time off from the anxiety driven news cycle. Trust me, if something big happens, you will hear about it. In The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership¸ Steven Sample talks about giving up news for six months! He didn’t miss anything significant. Invite your people (and yourself) to take more time for prayer for our nation and the world instead. You could offer three levels of opting in to this practice: 40 days completely news-free, check in on Sundays, or read paper news only (a much cooler medium) for 40 days.
- Give of yourself every day. This could be a practice, such doing something kind every day. (Here’s a host of ideas.) Or it could actually be giving at least a small amount of money away every day, which I did last year. I found it a powerful practice for finding greater freedom in relation to money.
- Read (or listen to) the same passage of Scripture together daily. There are lots of audio version of the Bible (see this guide). You could share links to the week’s text via email or social media and invite people to listen daily. If you are doing a special Lenten Bible study group, you could invite people to read or listen daily. Keep it simple.
- Help your people connect their money with their faith. This willl take a little more planning than the other ideas. However, it’s not too late to offer my Finances and Faith System for the Lenten season. It is a congregation-wide offering that focuses not on giving, but on how ordinary people can bring prayer into their daily encounters with money—perfect for Lent. Click here for more information.
Please do let me know how you observe this time. I love hearing new ideas and learning from amazing leaders, like yourself. You can leave a comment on below and I promise to reply.