Whether your parish has been utilizing a small group ministry model for some time or you are just starting, Lent provides a great opportunity for people to grow in faith and relationship through small groups. It seems like we just rang in the new year, but Lent is fast approaching - Ash Wednesday is March 2, 2022. The Lenten season provides the opportunity for fasting, prayer, and reflection. People are seeking ways to connect with Jesus more deeply through encounter and learning more about God and our faith.
Some people would say that their relationship with God is not where they would like it to be, but feel unsure of how to change it. A small group may be the answer. Lent is an excellent time to invite people to commit to small groups for a short period of time. Once people try out a small group for 6 weeks, they may be willing to commit to a small group in the Easter season or to one that meets regularly throughout the year.
Do a parish campaign inviting people to join a small group in the weeks leading up to Lent.
Consider having a sign-up at your parish on Ash Wednesday. Then people can commit that day, and you can connect them to a small group by the following week.
Invite the RCIA program participants to join a group with other parishioners. As they prepare to enter fully into the Church at Easter, a small group can be a powerful tool to witness other disciples and empower them to share their testimony.
Contact those that have not yet participated in a small group at your parish. Consider ways to personally invite them and be sure to follow up with them.
Praying for and with your small groups helps them feel connected, supported, and focused on Jesus Christ.
Pray for participants in any of your small groups throughout Lent. Ask your parish intercessory prayer team to lift up the participants and leaders as well.
Lent is also a good opportunity to pray about asking some of your current small group participants to consider leading a small group. This may be a good opportunity for a new facilitator to ease into leading a small group by shadowing a veteran leader. Do not forget that Ascension Press also offers free online training for small group leaders that you can use in conjunction with the training and support you offer small group leaders:
Bible Study Leader Training | Sign Up – Ascension (ascensionpress.com)
Consider hosting a time of prayer during Lent specifically for those who lead small groups. It may be Eucharistic Adoration, a formal prayer service, or an opportunity to join together at an already scheduled parish prayer event, such as Stations of the Cross.
Whether a group has been meeting or is newly formed, there are great Lenten devotionals and book studies they can use during this season. Here are a few options to consider:
Restore: A Guided Lent Journal for Prayer and Meditation | Ave Maria Press
Word on Fire, a six-week program with Bishop Barron – Mystery of God
- Studies about the Passion of Christ by Ascension Press
As you help your parish community dive deeper into the season of Lent, don’t forget to join other small group leaders monthly for ideas, to network, and for prayer. We meet on the first Wednesday of each month at 11:00 am. You can find the link in Parish Mail