Lent begins on February 17th, so now is the time to get your requests in for your Lenten studies. Below you will find new options, recommendations, and access to our complete catalog of Lenten resources for adults, youth, and children. We carry small-group studies, curriculum, devotionals, books, movies, activity books, and worship resources.
There are three new United Methodist DVD studies for Lent. Amplify is hosting a free webinar series with the authors to learn more about each of these new options. Read more about these titles below. These webinars begin on January 12th but will be recorded and available to watch later.
Cokesbury offers a helpful comparison chart that breaks down the details of their more recent Lenten studies.
The Ecumenical Consultation on Protocols for Worship, Fellowship, and Sacraments produced a document on Resuming Care-Filled Worship and Sacramental Life During a Pandemic specifically for Holy Week and Easter 2021.
NC Conference Devotions
The NC Conference will be posting devotions online for the 40 days of Lent as well as a short Ash Wednesday service with Bishop Hope Morgan Ward. This worship experience will be live and interactive. You can subscribe to receive the devotions in your email or view them on the Lent 2021 website.
The Bishops of the UMC will also be offering weekly video devotions on dismantling racism.
New for 2021
Words of Life: Jesus and the Promise of the Ten Commandments Today by Adam Hamilton. Hamilton brings modern eyes to the most important set of ethics in history. He considers the commandments in their historical context, considering the meaning of each commandment in Hebrew, unpacking how Jesus reinterpreted them, and showing how every thou-shalt-not was intended to point to a life-giving “thou shalt.” He also explores how the latest research in science and psychology illuminates these commandments, rightly understood, as a way of ordering one’s life beautifully in the present day.
Savior: What the Bible Says about the Cross by Magrey R. deVega. You’ll be introduced to several biblically based ways of understanding Jesus’ death on the cross that may go beyond the explanations you’ve heard before. By exploring the mystery of salvation through the cross, you’ll find a deeper love for God and others while strengthening your commitment to follow Jesus.
Seven Words: Listening to Christ from the Cross by Susan Robb. Robb looks at Christ’s final words from a biblical and historical perspective, showing how we can find life and hope in them. As Jesus draws his final breath and utters his last words, it is then that his deep trust in the Father and his divine glory are revealed.
Book Studies & Devotionals
Atone: The Difference the Cross Makes by Wil Cantrell. Cantrell explores the great mystery behind all the theories of how Jesus’ sacrifice enables us to be at one with God, ourselves, and others. Readers will be challenged to move beyond solely intellectual discussions to atonement and to experience for themselves the transformation made possible by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. A leader guide and a sermon series outline by the author and based on this book are available as a free download.
Lent of Liberation: Confronting the Legacy of American Slavery by Cheri L Mills. This Lenten devotional invites readers to learn more about the brutal institution of slavery and its impact on Black people in America and discover how its evolution and legacy continue to harm their descendants in the United States today. Each of the forty devotions includes the testimony of a person who escaped slavery through the Underground Railroad, a Scripture passage, and a reflection connecting biblical and historical themes to challenge modern readers to work for liberation. A collection of digital resources to use with this book, including a small-group guide, can be downloaded for free.
Journey to Transformation by Bishop Sharma D. Lewis. This book is a new version of Bishop Sharma Lewis’ best-selling Lenten study for 2021. Sharing her individual journey, Bishop Lewis (Virginia Conference, United Methodist Church) invites readers to observe Lent by introspection, repentance, forgiveness, renewal, prayer, fasting, and Biblical study.
Walking in the Wilderness: Seeking God during Lent by Beth A. Richardson. We spend 40 days in the wilderness during Lent–days in which God calls us to self-examination, repentance, and making room for the Holy One in our lives. Our task during Lent is to clear away the clutter from our hearts so we can be fully present to God and our neighbors. This book includes daily reflections for Ash Wednesday through Easter. A spiritual practice is introduced each Sunday of Lent: Being Present, Lament, Lectio Divina, Trust, Compassion, and Hospitality.
The 40-Day Social Media Fast: Exchange Your Online Distractions for Real-Life Devotion by Wendy Speake. This “screen sabbatical” is designed to help you become fully conscious of your dependence on social media so you can purposefully unplug from screens and plug into real life with the help of a very real God. Disconnect in order to reconnect with the only One who said “follow me.”
More DVD Studies for Lent 2021
The Walk: Five Essential Practices of the Christian Life by Adam Hamilton. Discover five essential spiritual practices rooted in Jesus’ own walk with God. Hamilton’s engaging teaching style will help you explore each of these practices, its New Testament foundation, and its potential effect on our personal lives and our lives together as the church.
Simon Peter: Flawed but Faithful Disciple by Adam Hamilton. Peter was just an ordinary guy who heard and followed God’s extraordinary call. Discover how you, too, have special gifts, talents, and abilities that God can use to make a difference today.
Entering the Passion of Jesus: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Week by Amy-Jill Levine. Levine explores the biblical texts surrounding the Passion story. She shows us how the text raises ethical and spiritual questions for the reader, and how we all face risk in our Christian experience.
The Grace of Les Miserables by Matt Rawle. Rawle dives into six ideals found in the story—grace, justice, poverty, revolution, love, and hope—each represented by a character in Hugo’s story. He draws parallels between the iconic story and musical and our Christian calling, inspiring us to both understand our faith and live it out in the world.
Restored: Finding Redemption in Our Mess by Tom Berlin. Berlin encourages us to reflect and meditate through our own brokenness, showing us that it is only when we focus on the cross as a place to surrender control that we can leave our mess and find true redemption.
More Books for Lent 2021
Embracing the Uncertain: A Lenten Study for Unsteady Times by Magrey R. deVega. deVega invites readers this Lent to engage and wrestle with life’s uncertainties, not ignore them. The first six chapters focus on six post-Transfiguration, pre-Passion stories in the Gospels. Each of these stories are signposts in the gospel narrative, pointing down at a world filled with uncertainty, but pointing us forward to a cross that can show us how to follow Jesus with courage, hope, and obedience. A devotional based on this study is also available.
A Resurrection-Shaped Life: Dying and Rising on Planet Earth by Jake Owensby. Bishop Owensby leads us through a re-examination of the biblical concept of resurrection and illustrates how it can influence us as Christians every day. A resurrection-shaped life finds hope through honest reflection on the past, moves beyond shame and blame toward self-acceptance and compassion, and draws strength from the hope of life after life.
Wind in the Wilderness: A Lenten Study From the Prophets by DJ del Rosario. del Rosario calls our attention to the issues of justice in today’s world. You’ll explore the continuity between prophetic emphasis and Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God.
Plenty Good Room: A Lenten Bible Study Based on African American Spirituals by Marilyn E. Thornton with Lewis V. Baldwin. This unique short-term Bible study combines an in-depth look at Scripture, American history, and the music and lyrics of six African American spirituals. It provides biblical, social, and historical analyses of the songs.
40 Days of Doubt: Devotions for the Skeptic by Eric Huffman. Huffman helps us understand how we can deal with our doubt and provides candid, insightful answers for those times in our spiritual journey when our minds and souls are fighting. You’ll not only find solace in these wonder-filled reflections; you’ll also discover that you are aren’t abnormal, after all, for having doubt.
Interruptions: A 40-Day Journey with Jesus by Jacob Armstrong. Armstrong provides a chance for you to set aside your stress for a bit and refocus on God. He looks at the life of Jesus and gives insights on how you might respond to all the interruptions in your life.
More Lent Resources for Adults
The General Commission on Religion and Race offers Roll Down, Justice! A Lenten Biblical Reflection. This is an online study with video clips that can be used for free.
The Baltimore-Washington Conference has posted a free Lenten study that can be done with any adult small group on your own time, Reclaiming and Living Covenant: A Lenten Experience of Scripture, UMC Social Principles and Antiracist Action to Build Beloved Community.
For Youth & Children
Words of Life: Jesus and the Promise of the Ten Commandments Today, Youth Study Book by Adam Hamilton. This book is a youth version of Hamilton’s newest Lenten study for adults. Youth versions of many of our adult studies are available. View the links in “More Resources” below for a complete list.
Words of Life: Jesus and the Promise of the Ten Commandments Today, Children’s Leader Guide by Adam Hamilton. This book is the children’s version of Hamilton’s newest Lenten study for adults. It contains session plans for younger and older children (grades K-2 and 3-6) including games, activities, craft ideas, and reproducible handouts. Children’s versions of many of our adult studies are available. View the links in “More Resources” below for a complete list.
Fathom: The Passion, The Death and Resurrection of Jesus by Katie Heierman. This 4-session youth study will explore the events surrounding Jesus’ suffering and crucifixion and their meaning for believers today. The lessons are a blend of narrative and traditional theological approaches to understanding the Bible story. Each lesson will focus on one passage that will launch into the larger context of God’s story, and how that story is meant to be theirs.
Children’s Dramas For The Church Year: Reproducible Dramas for Lent, Easter, and Pentecost by Linda Ray Miller. This reproducible resource consists of very simple Easter dramas that can be performed by kids of all ages. Short poems are also included for use in programs. Selections take no more than 10 minutes to perform and the number of children can vary as needed by the size of the church. Props and scenery are minimal and selections can be performed with little rehearsal.
Easter-rific! Teaching Kids…It’s More than Just One Day! by Tina Houser. This book includes nineteen stories that occurred during Holy Week, four more stories that occurred before Christ’s Ascension, and between two and four activities per story such as games, crafts, snacks, science experiments, storytelling ideas, and object lessons.
Sharing the Easter Faith with Children by Carolyn C. Brown. Being sensitive to the developmental maturity of children from ages birth to 12, Carolyn Brown provides materials, activities, and resources for congregations and families.
More Resources for Youth & Children
View our pathfinders on Lent and Easter Resource for Youth and Lent and Easter Resources for Children to find more resources including curriculum, animated films, picture books, activity ideas, and worship resources.
Sparkhouse is making available a free youth Lenten devotional app. Each day will include scripture, a reflection, a prayer, and a pop art image. Sign up to view a sample and be notified when the app is available.
Request These Resources
These resources can be borrowed for free by anyone involved with a United Methodist Church in the North Carolina Conference. We will mail them to your home! All you need to do is fill out the Resource Request Form.