Lent: an intergenerational experiment

Have you been part of a Lent group? If so, who else was there? I’m guessing, in most cases, that the answer is “grown-ups”. That seems to be the norm in most churches – Lent groups are for adults, and often have a book or study guide as their focus. There might be (but usually isn’t) something separate for children to do during Lent.

A few years ago, I decided to experiment with running a Lent group for people of all ages together. It was a bit ad hoc, and quite a steep learning curve, but was enough to convince me that it’s something worth doing. This year I’m trying to be more systematic about it, and also to blog what we’re doing in case it’s useful to others.

We are meeting on Saturday afternoons for an hour, for 5 weeks. The group is open to anyone – it deliberately hasn’t been advertised as being specifically for ‘families’, although it has been made clear that children and adults of all ages are welcome.

The intention is to explore key themes of Lent together, through play, discussion, creativity, and prayer. This is not a ‘study group’ but something more experiential and less intellectual which, I hope, will appeal not only to a range of ages, but also a range of learning styles and abilities. We’re trying to create a space to encounter God together.

The structure of each session will be:

Introduction: We will introduce the theme for the week, and briefly explore what the word means. There will be a brief discussion-starter question, to get people talking.

Story: A bible story which connects with the theme will be presented in an interactive and/or multi-sensory way. This might include Godly Play, Sensory Stories, or acting the story out together.

Wondering questions: In a Godly Play style, questions beginning “I wonder…” will prompt discussion. There are no ‘right answers’!

Reflection activity: This will be an interactive activity in small groups, which will enable people to reflect more deeply on the theme and story.

Creative response: Following on from the reflection activity, people will have the opportunity to make something connected with the story/theme, to explore the creative materials, or to continue reflection or discussion.

Prayer: An interactive prayer activity, including non-verbal components.

Lord’s Prayer: We will end with the Lord’s Prayer, accompanied by body prayer (this is something our children – but not our adults – are familiar with).

Will it ‘work’? (What does ‘working’ even mean in this context?) Who will participate? How will they participate? What will it look like? Feel like? What will we learn? How will we experience God together?

I don’t know yet. Watch this space…..

An outline of the session will be posted each week:

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6 thoughts on “Lent: an intergenerational experiment

  1. Pingback: Lifting the Lid on Lent 1: Temptation | … because God is love

  2. We tried something similar as part of a church in Bristol. They call it Little Church (Parish of Bishopston and St Andrews) where people of all ages met to consider a theme. There were (are?) 5 or 6 little churches across the 3 parish churches. Some worked more successfully than others as an experiment to cross intergenerational divide and to gel the folk from each church. our experience was that me and the kids (and another woman and her chikdren) went after school to an older lady’s house to do as you describe, story and wondering with some sort of response activity and then have tea as the dads and other working-age people turned up joining us for dinner. I often wished I could have stayed for more adult conversation but the kids needed to go to bed! The more successful groups met on a Saturday or after church on a sunday and did more social stuff together.but this didn’t work for us. Sorry for the ramble and I really hope you find something that works. I shall watch with interest as in principle I think it’s a great idea!

  3. Pingback: Lifting the Lid on Lent 2: Repentance | … because God is love

  4. Pingback: Lifting the Lid on Lent 3: Growth | … because God is love

  5. Pingback: Lifting the Lid on Lent 4: Generosity | … because God is love

  6. Pingback: Lifting the Lid on Lent 5: Faithfulness | … because God is love

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