This week, our youth ministry kicked off our “Jesus Series” with our students. In this season of Lent, we find it important to place extra emphasis on Jesus as we journey with him to the cross. We’re also rocking the boat in the process. We decided it was time to put forth a youth ministry challenge to help bring home the season of Lent. While reflecting on our typical schedule on Sunday nights of gathering, games, worship, and discussion, we realized that there was one area we were willing to sacrifice and one area that was missing each week. So here it is: we are sacrificing games this Lent and replacing it with time for a message and service project.
We might be crazy…or we might be posturing ourselves for the biggest growth in faith yet. We looked at the background of Lent and were reminded that this season from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday is representative of Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness. Jesus finds himself in a time of fasting and huge sacrifice all while being tempted by Satan. Even amidst the temptations, Jesus is said to come back “strong in the spirit”. It’s interesting that the description of Jesus isn’t weak, emaciated, hungry, or thirsty, but rather strong in the spirit. Jesus’ time in the wilderness prepares him for his next step: public ministry. He doesn’t come back from this 40-day stretch ready to go back to carpentry. He’s ready for what’s next.
Here’s the challenge with Lent: is what you chose to sacrifice preparing you for what’s next? Is what you’ve given up allowing you to see God in a new way? Often Lent becomes a time when people give up candy or soda only to eat mounds of chocolate or chug a 12-pack of Coke on Easter. Do we really look any different on Easter than we did on Ash Wednesday? Jesus’ 40-day stretch in the wilderness had long-lasting effects that went beyond day 40. Why as a Christian community do we sell short and go for 40 days when Jesus models to us that this short period of time could provide transformation for the rest of our lives?
These 40 days have the potential to prepare you for what’s next. Jesus is looking to transform us all into radically different followers through the sacrifice of this season. The hard truth is it won’t happen if we aren’t willing to give up something big, something beyond candy or soda. For our ministry, it was games. We’re looking forward to the upcoming weeks that we have to give a message and provide a service project for our students. We hope our students have the chance in this time to learn more about how Jesus is looking to transform them than games could ever teach.
We might be crazy…or we might be posturing ourselves for the biggest growth in faith yet.
How are you preparing for lifelong transformation during this Lenten season?
Thanks for loving students,