With the season of Lent about to start, I have posted this from my YES e-news (which goes out fairly regularly!) in time to help you with resources, ideas and a whole bunch of stuff between now and Easter. So, three ideas from me, then a bunch of places to go for great resources . . . nearer Easter, I will do some more specific resources around Good Friday / Easter Sunday.
Idea #1. Matching Prayers. This is like matching pairs, only for prayers. The idea is simple. Do matching cards / pictures for 10 different things that children and young people can be encouraged to pray for. Then, play the game – whoever gets a matching pair, and then has to say a prayer on that topic. You might well come up with your own ten, but – ten to start you off (Pray for: People who are sick // Family // The World // Thankful for food // People who are hungry // Today // Friends // Emergency Services // Church Leaders // Yourself ! You could create different sets, for prayer around different themes and ideas.
Idea #2. Pray it Forward. Encourage those you work with, children or young people, to write God a prayer for themselves and what they would like to discover / grow in through lent. Something they want to give up, maybe they want to be more thoughtful or generous. We might all have plans or hopes, but lent is a journey – and we may discover unexpected things about ourselves and about God along the way. Once they have written the prayer – encourage them to put it in an envelope, not to be opened until the season of lent has moved into Easter and Holy Week. Maybe at this point they could open it and ask themselves some questions: What did I discover since I wrote this? What will I remember form my journey through Lent? Are there things I value more (or less) now?
Idea #3. The Three Trees. I have mentioned this story before in my recommendations and ideas / resources, here my idea is simply this – give each young person (and I would recommend older youth or young adults for this) three card board trees – on one side highlight the “longing” or “desire” the tree had (you might need to go and read the whole story if you are not familiar with it!, just “google” “Three Trees Fable” and you will find a version). First longing – valuing what we look like / beauty (the treasure chest); Second longing – to be strong (the mighty ship); Third longing – to be noticed and important (tallest tree). Each tree became what they wanted, just not in the way they expected . . . Write John 3:30 on one side of each and maybe on the other side, “beauty” “strength” “importance” – God looks at the heart and does not judge us by how we look (or how others judge our looks!) // God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness (we are strong when we trust in Him, not in ourselves) // God counts each of us as important, not by the worlds values – how many followers on twitter we have, how popular we are – He loves us, each of us is special and significant to Him, we need to find our security in His love.
Resource #1. Do Lent Generously. This great resource from stewardship has a load of FREE resources for youth workers. Check it out here: 40 Acts
Resource #2. Lent Blessings. Christian Aid have produced an App for Lent, I think it is available whether you are using android or have an apple product. Just search for “Count your blessings app”, I have downloaded it and it takes you through each day of lent giving you food for thought and prayer.
Resource #3. SGM Easter. From SGM Life Words comes a bunch of resources for Easter. Check them out here: SGM Lifewords
Resource #4. Rhythms from Tearfund. This is an ongoing project from Tearfund, but a great time to start would be Lent. This is a community website for those who want to live differently, be challenged and inspired about how they can be the difference that they want to see in the world. Check out the website: Rhythms
Resources #5. Love Life Live Lent. Well, its back – you can now follow on Twitter @LiveLent and there are free resources to download and use for churches here: Love Life Live Lent
Resource #6. Us. (Formely known as USPG – United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel). They have a load of resources for the season of lent: US Lent
Resource #7. “Youversion” Bible app – Offering N.T. Wrights, “Lent for Everyone” as a free reading plan this year – check it out: Lent for Everyone
Resource #8. Enough Food IF. This is not a resource so much as a campaign for justice. However, when during lent there might be aspects of “giving up” or “abstinence” that we follow, it seems perverse that whilst we have a crazy amount of obesity in the west, malnutrition still kills so many. Check out the campaign here: Enough Food IF
Resource #9. “The Crown and The Fire”. Read this book through lent, packed with insight and wisdom. Check it out here: The Crown and then Fire
Resource #10. 40 Days Video. Si Smith is a stunning artist who put together this resource which follows Jesus through his time in the wilderness, a great discussion starter, or a video to show as a reflection / for meditation. You can find it on youtube, but can I encourage you to purchase it from “Proost”, as this enables more great stuff like this to be produce: 40 Days
There you go! It would be great if you could let me know what you use, what is helpful . . . . feedback welcome!