With Ash Wednesday (13th Feb 2013) quickly approaching, all you small group leaders are searching for the right Lent course for your group. Here are 5 recommendations from me, including both new and old courses that will get your group into the Easter spirit...
Updated for 2017
With less than a week to go until Ash Wednesday, there is still time to lead, start, or join a small group study for the Lent Period. As a way to journey closer to the heart of what Lent means, small group studies are not only a great chance to read deeper into the story of Easter, but also to discuss out loud issues in these studies.
You may discover something remarkable that you never knew before.
Here are our top small group studies for this year:
From Abby Guinness, writer, actor, and event director for Spring Harvest, At The Cross is a study that brings to life the often-neglected voices of people peripheral to the crucifixion. Shedding new light on how the cross changed the lives of those who were there, At The Cross places you in the shows of those at Jesus’ feet.
The six sessions cover:
Study One - The Centurion: Finding Truth - Mark 15:33-39
Study Two - The Criminal: Finding Forgiveness - Luke 23:32-43
Study Three - Joseph of Arimathea: Finding Courage - John 19:38-42
Study Four - Mary: Finding Trust - Luke 2:25-38
Study Five - Thaddaeus: Finding Faith Under Fire - Matthew 10:1-8, 16-25
Study Six - Martha: Finding Life - John 11:17-27
Amy Boucher Pye’s Lent devotional book, The Living Cross, covers all the days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, with a series of poignant devotionals that look at the whole story leading up to the cross: from first fall to final forgiveness.
A bountiful source of topics and discussions, the book even includes questions for individual reflection and group discussion
Week 1: Fallen Heroes: The Israelite Founders
Week 2: Flawed but Forgiven Kings.
Week 3: The Prophets: Calling God’s People to Return.
Week 4: Jesus Forgives
Week 5: Empowered by the Spirit: The Early Church
Holy Week: Forgiveness Enacted: The Passion of Jesus
Paula Gooder is fast becoming a leading, and accessible, voice in the world of Theology. Her book Body, which looks at how we view the spirit/body divide, was a work praised for its sheer insight and clarity.
Let Me Go There is a daily companion for the six weeks of Lent that reflects on great themes of Jesus’ life on earth, and is a challenge to become a disciple through and through. It offers a whole range of areas for discussion, of ways that the story of Jesus’ life and death can be put into practice for each of us.
Exploring where following Jesus will take you, it is a book for the journey of faith, and will challenge you to find that place where faith and life intersect.
1. The Wilderness: Desolation and Redemption (Reflections 1-6)
2. On Recognition: Jesus and the Wilderness in Mark (Reflections 7-12)
3. Who are You? Jesus and the Devil in Matthew (Reflections 13-18)
4. Testings: Jesus and Testing in Luke (Reflections 19-23)
5. Follow Me: The Call to Discipleship (Reflections 24-29)
6. If you Want to Follow…: The Character and Cost of Discipleship (Reflections 30-34)
For more Lent devotionals from past years, be sure to check out our collection of Lent Group Study Guides, as well as highlights below.
Cover to Cover Lent Study Guide (2013)
Written by Liz Babbs, award-winning author and poet, ‘Transformed by the Presence of Jesus’ is more ‘meditative’ than ‘conversational’. You and your group will be invited to step into the shoes of Bible characters that were transformed by the presence of Jesus.
Session 1: Walking with Jesus (Luke 24: 13-35 – Road to Emmaus)
Session 2: Known by Jesus (John 4: 1-26 – Women at the Well)
Session 3: Waiting for Jesus (John 11: 1-44 – Story of Lazarus)
Session 4: Named by Jesus (John 20: 1-18 – Mary Madgalene)
Session 5: Faith & Jesus (Matthew 14: 22-36 – Jesus Walks on Water)
Session 6: Obedience & Jesus (John 21: 1-14 – Risen Jesus)
With leader’s notes at the back and links to further resources from Liz’s website, this Lent course makes your job simple so you can focus on leading your group deeper into the Lent journey. Want to look inside? Click here to see a sample of this book.
The Mystery of Everything (2015)
‘The Mystery of Everything’ will help your group to discover the complicated relationship between faith and reason. Each session begins with a clip from the multi-Oscar and BAFTA winning movie, ‘Theory of Everything’. After the clip, Hilary Brand guides you through relevant Bible passages, group discussion questions, exercises and meditations. You and your group will be challenged by King George VI’s courage to overcome his fear, step out, and discover his voice.
Session 1: The experience of wonder
Session 2: The enigma of weakness
Session 3: The complexity of relationships
Session 4: The encounter with frailty
Session 5: The hope beyond brokenness
Lent is for Loving (2013)
‘Lent is for Loving’ is short and snappy, with short chapters and plenty of space for in-depth reflection and heated, genuine discussion. The aim is to release a Lent attitude that lasts the whole year (and your whole life). Turning Lent into an acronym, this study aims to release a Lent attitude of loving our world that lasts beyond Easter.
Session 1: 'L' is for LOVE
Session 2: 'E' is for EMPATHY
Session 3: 'N' is quite simply for NO!
Session 4: 'T' is for THANK YOU GOD
Shelia Cassidy is a radical believer, having survived imprisonment and torture when she gave medical care to a political activist in Chile back in the 1970’s. ‘Lent is for Loving’ is a testament to her healing and continued passion, producing a refreshing and challenging Lent Course that wonderfully captures John 10:10.
Lent for Everyone: Matthew, Year A
If you’re looking for short, sharp, thought-provoking readings to inject your small group study with Lent-based reflections, ‘Lent for Everyone’ is a useful little resource to do just that.
Everyone’s favourite modern theologian N.T. Wright has successfully explained theology to millions of everyday Christians. This daily devotional will feed you as the spiritual leader of the group, plus give you extra material for your weekly sessions. Wright tells a visual story of each reading in Year A of the liturgical diary, painting a rich picture with added description about the biblical times. Reading these aloud will become engaging, conversational snippets to spark thought and discussion.
N.T. Wright has filled his Lent Daily Devotionals with both biblical insight and engaging Christian thought. It’s a gold mind for small group material!
February 24th, 2017 - Posted & Written by James Warwood