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Why Practice Lent as a Gospel Community?

A Season for Community and Mission

By February 28, 2019 No Comments

 

What is Lent?

Lent is a 40 day walk through daily and sometimes hourly reminders (because our tummies are hungry or our hearts are longing for something that we seemingly can’t live without) of the gospel. Lent, together with the celebration of Easter, focuses our lives on the wonderful love of God in the gospel.

Each week your community will be looking to Jesus, looking inwardly at its own heart, and looking outwardly at what it means to live in light of the gospel. This is an opportunity to re-center your community on the gospel of Jesus. This is also an important season to equip your community in fundamental discipleship issues: lament, suffering, confession, repentance, anger, and confusion.

Sharing A Common Spiritual Journey

Typically, your community will only be physically in the same room a few times throughout a week. Work, family, and the busyness of the city drains time available. However, as you go throughout the city you remain a community, a family of God.

The practice of Lent as a gospel community reinforces your unity as you are separate. It provides a unifying experience through reading, praying, and fasting. It is a very binding experience to, for a short period of time, grow together in the same concerted direction. As you walk through the season together your community’s engagement will move beyond: “how was work this week?” to, “how are you processing repentance? What did you think of that passage we read on Wednesday? How is fasting and praying”?

Creating Community and Placing Us on Mission

Bottom line. Focus on Jesus and the gospel creates community. The re-learning of what repentance is, the example and challenge of Jesus’ humility, the embracing and acknowledging of suffering, beginning the communal practice of lament, looking to the sacrifice of Jesus for our redemption, and experiencing the death and resurrection of Jesus through this season creates a deep community.

Lent and Easter turn our hearts upward, but also place us on mission in the city. This season will open your eyes to the people around you.

Each week of this guide will pose the question: what would it mean for your community to foster humility like Jesus’? or What would it look like for our community to lament the sin, destruction, and suffering in our city? How can we actively sacrifice as obedience to the grace of God?

In fact, it is very plausible for your community to conclude this season of Lent and Easter with a new community commitment where you are able to clarify a few goals and next steps for your community to grow in the following season.

Perhaps the most powerful questions to ask during Lent are: What is God teaching us through this season? How are we changing? What are we learning about Jesus?

These questions will shape you and those around you.

How to Engage Lent

  1. Use The Saturate Lent Guide: “Living Through Dying” and guide your community through this season of worship.
  2. Connect what you’re learning to the mission you’re on. How is the suffering of Jesus good news?
  3. Plan ahead what your community will do to worship during Holy Week.

How is the suffering of Jesus good news to our community?

–> Join the online community, ask questions, and get answers from seasoned practitioners.

–> Check out some of our resources:

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Brad Watson

Author Brad Watson

Brad Watson serves as an equipping leader at Soma Culver City in Los Angeles where he develops and teaches leaders to form communities that love God and serve the city. He is the author of multiple books including Sent Together: How the Gospel Sends Leaders to Start Missional Communities. He holds a degree in theology from Western Seminary.

More posts by Brad Watson

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