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LENT COURSES - How to choose the right one for you

The Editor

Long overshadowed by the celebrations of Easter Sunday, Lent is being rediscovered as a sacred time of reflection and renewal in its own right and a time of preparation for the joyous seasonal finale. Like Advent, Lent gives you 40 daily opportunities to get deeper into the personal and eternal significance of Jesus' life and ministry. A focused course of study through the days of Lent allows you the time alone with the Father-God that Jesus found essential to prepare for his earthly ministry. Spending time apart from the world in a time of close communion with the Father God is essential for Christians and Christian communities who earnestly seek to know their purpose and calling in the world today.

Which is the right Lent study course for you?

The right Lent study course for you is the one you'll most enjoy and the one you'll look forward to using. It's the one that won't be a sacrifice of time to follow, but a joy. It's the one you'll follow all the way from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.

As you'd expect, there are many Lent courses to choose from and several newly published for 2024. In making your choice here are a few things to think about which might help.

Are you buying a Lent course for yourself or to lead a group?

  • If you're buying for a group, think about their ages and abilities, where the group meets and what resources are available (do you have a TV and DVD player or access to craft materials). Think about how often the group meets and whether you need to include a time of worship with the study.
  • If you're buying it for yourself, then buy the one that most engages your interest.

Do you need to tailor a Lent course to suit your group's needs, commitments and availability?

  • A Lent resources pack helps you weave Bible texts, meditations and prayers into a time of study, reflection, activities and worship that best suits your group. Choose from age-specific resources, art and craft-based activities and DVD-based resources for an engaging focus and thought-provoking discussion starters.

How much time have you got to give my Lent course?

  • Most Lent study courses for personal use take up little more than one or two pages of reading. With a little time added on for prayer and reflection it should be easy to add a Lent study course to the beginning or end of your day, or as the focus of a little quality peace and quiet when you need it most.

What will keep you engaged for the whole of Lent?

  • Most of the leading Christian thinkers and writers have put together at least one Lent course. Start with the writer you like the best, makes you think hardest or reassures you the most. Remember that Lent is about you and God - the study material is only to help you become aware of his presence.

Would you like to try a whole new starting point that leads you into the Bible?

  • Some Lent courses use a recent or classic book, film or DVD as a 'way in' to a deeper understanding of the Bible material. These include 'Not a Tame Lion': a Lent course based on the writings of C S Lewis, and 'Finding a Voice': a Lent course based on the film 'The King's Speech' and this year's course 'A Place For Us' based on West Side Story.

Have you got all you need to create the 'right space'?

  • Jesus went into the wilderness of the Judean Hills because that was where he needed to be. For you, the right place might be a special place of peace, a quiet room or just a few minutes at your desk. If the right music, candles or other focus helps you get the most from your Lent experience make sure it's there and ready for you.

What are you expecting to get from your lent course?

  • Expect great things and go after them. Lent celebrates the time that Jesus set aside for himself with his Father-God. It was here that he found his purpose, calling and the faith and strength to follow.

Lent Courses: The Trivia Files

Lent used to be the time when new Christians, to be baptized on Easter Eve, were taught the Christian faith and life. Those already baptized reviewed and renewed the commitments they'd made. Lent was a time for spring-cleaning lives, as well as homes.

If you are looking for this year's newest Lent Courses, check out our top picks here.

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