4 Ways Lent Can Grow Your Movement
The Lenten season offers incredible opportunities for you to grow your movement. Whether your group is large or small, Lent can be an especially meaningful time that deepens the faith of your students and expands your reach on campus. There are at least four ways you can help make Lent meaningful for your movement this year:
- Evangelistically. Lent is a great time to be sharing your faith on campus. For Hispanic and Latino students this is often one of the most spiritual times of the year, even if they don’t attend church. Students who rarely go to mass will give up something for Lent, even if it is something (seemingly) trivial. You don’t want to miss this chance to be sharing the gospel with as many students as possible.
Last year on our campus a group of students decided to do a special outreach for Ash Wednesday. They created a “Giant Board of Lent” that they painted and brought on campus. They passed out sharpies and asked people to write down what they were giving up for Lent. More than 150 students stopped by to write on the board. The students were able to have great spiritual conversations. They had each student who signed the board fill out a survey about people’s spiritual interest and how Destino might help them grow spiritually during Lent. We then followed up the surveys in the following weeks.
- Interdenominationally. Lent is most often celebrated within the Catholic church, but some Protestant churches participate as well. This provides a unique opportunity for your movement to learn more about the different denominations that are represented. Last year we had Catholic students share with the entire movement about why they celebrated Lent and what it meant to them. It was a meaningful time for non-Catholic students to learn more about the faith of their friends. (One year we even took Protestant students to an Ash Wednesday mass).
- Spiritually. Lent is an inherently spiritual time. It is a season to focus on your walk with God. It can also be a great experiential way to teach your students about fasting and spiritual disciplines. Latinos are communal and Lent provides a way to fast communally. You can deepen the faith of your students through some of the various rituals associated with Lent.
Last year Destino at Long Beach invited a pastor to come to their weekly meeting and share some of the reasons why we do the things we do for Lent. It’s a great opportunity to take something students are already familiar with and infuse it with more meaning than they may currently know.
- Advocacy. World Vision and Intervarsity are using Lent to help students examine what it means to live a life that matters. Through their campaign, ReLentless Acts of Sacrifice, they are calling students to see how God might use them to be advocates for the marginalized and for the poor around the world. Each of the 6 weeks of Lent has a different theme for your movement to live out in community. I highly recommend watching this video and checking out their website, this could be an incredible to grow your movement in the area of identity, sacrifice, and advocacy.
However God leads you to use Lent this year, don’t miss the incredible opportunity He has provided for you. Your students are already thinking about Lent. Their families are thinking about it. Take what’s already happening and infuse it with even greater significance. Let Lent propel your students and your movement to places you’ve never been before.
How are you planning to use Lent in your movement?