All over social media, those still left after the Lenten Exodus, people are confessing to their inability to keep their Lenten promises. According to Facebook and Twitter, there has been lots of coffee drunk, chocolate eaten, swears said, and prayer time skipped. The hashtag #LentenFail started showing up just a day into the liturgical season. The #LentFail numbers grew again after bacon bits, chicken broth and unintentional "Oh no, I totally forgot it was Lent" hamburger consumption on the first Friday of Lent.
Here is the good news. YOU Cannot Fail Lent. It is not a test. Lent is a time of looking at our lives and trying new ways to grow closer to Christ. Through prayer, fasting and charity, these forty days can be used to challenge our current choices and behaviors, and try on new ones. The fasting, prayer and alms we take on for Lent, can also enhance our lives well beyond Easter ... read more for ideas on how and extra encouragement
Really. Please don't leave Social Media for Lent. I understand that many people use this hiatus to spend time working on their own personal spiritual growth; and I can completely respect that HOWEVER.... please don't completely disappear for 40 days when social media needs you the most. Okay, I've always had a flair for the dramatic but here's why I am begging you to stay:
'Tis the Season
Lent is a season when many people make a resolution to investigate or rejuvenate a faith life. The internet just happens to be a place many people will turn for guidance and even perhaps seek a community to take the journey with. So, what happens when those who are most likely to post something faith based, could possibly answer questions or would be open to connect as community make a mass exodus off social media during Lent?? There is a risk for missed opportunity to evangelize, catechize and support those seeking meaning through an experience with Christ this Lent.
Pick a time, date and location for your small group to meet. My recommendation is to commit to meeting weekly; especially if the group is being formed only for Lent.
Location can be either in your home, a rotation of homes, or at your parish. My advice - weigh the pros and cons to decide which is best for you and your group - then trust your instincts! Some of the cons for a home meeting include having to limit attendees due to space, having to clean for company ((my primary obstacle), or limited parking. Small group size is typically 8 to 10; although 12 -15 is doable especially for a short period of time like the 6 weeks of Lent. If you are blessed with a high response rate - consider creating more than one small group either at the same or various locations.
Pros for meeting in a home include it's often cozier and may be less intimidating for some who do not typically attend church related events. The most important part is remembering the goal of the group to grow closer to Christ. After 10 years of leading Bible Study, I now host one at the parish (yearly and co-ed) and one in my home (seasonal and woman only); finding both can be advantageous. Like me, you may find that there is a place for both in your plans. Hosting at the parish has given me some freedom in the commitment that we can hold the group all year long and my home group has provided opporunity to expand my outreach.