Lent will begin on Ash Wednesday, February 22nd, 2023, and Easter is on Sunday, April 9th. Now is the time to request resources that your church or small group would like to use during the Lenten season.
On this page, we have highlighted new and popular resources used during Lent and Easter, but the NC Conference Media Center offers many more, including:
- Video-based small-group studies
- Book-based small-group studies
- Documentary and dramatized DVD movies
- Program and worship planning books
- Youth and children’s curriculum
- Activity books for use with children and families
- Animated videos for children
- Picture books for children
All of our Lent and Easter Resources
The Media Center offers these pathfinders that contain complete lists of all of our resources designed to be used during Lent and Easter.
Study Comparison Chart
Cokesbury offers a Lenten Studies Interactive Comparison Chart for 2023. Most of the studies on the chart can be borrowed from the NC Conference Media Center, and many of them are listed on this page.
New Lenten Resources for 2023
New Book by NC Conference Pastor, Rev. Taylor Mills!
Toward the Cross: Heart-Shaping Lessons for Lent and Easter by Taylor W. Mills with Gary Thompson and Michelle Morris. In a world that constantly tries to define our priorities for us, commitment to Christ demands that we reclaim that responsibility and right for ourselves. The season of Lent offers us space and time for to engage in that sacred work. This book serves as a guide through these weeks, helping us explore qualities and characteristics of Christian discipleship that demonstrate following Jesus is our highest priority. The chapters and daily readings challenge our thoughts, words, and actions in light of the teachings of Jesus.
Invite the author to your group discussion! Rev. Taylor Mills can join your group discussion of his book if you meet locally, on Zoom, or on Google Meet. You can reach him through the Contact page on his blog.
New DVD Studies for 2023
Luke: Jesus and the Outsiders, Outcasts, and Outlaws by Adam Hamilton. Jesus brought the good news of God’s kingdom to those who most needed to hear it. In this 6-week study, Adam Hamilton explores the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus as told in the Gospel of Luke. Through Luke’s stories, we find Jesus’ care and compassion for all as he welcomes sinners and outcasts. As we study Luke and see Jesus’ concern for those who were considered unimportant, we hear a hopeful and inspiring word for our lives today.
Finding Jesus in the Psalms: A Lenten Journey by Barb Roose. Combining an interpretation of the psalms with real-life stories, this 6-week study moves through the familiar words of Psalm 23 toward the painful cries of Psalm 22 uttered by Jesus on the cross. The study includes reflections on the life of King David and the original context of the writings, along with connections between the psalms and the life and death of Jesus the Messiah.
On order! In the Footsteps of the Savior: Following Jesus through the Holy Land by Max Lucado. Lucado shares key teachings from the Gospels and Acts on the people and places that shaped Jesus’ life. Filmed entirely in the Holy Land, Max weaves together in-depth teachings with reflections on his time in the Holy Land, guiding you through the events that took place in Israel.
New Book Studies & Devotionals
Struggle to the Cross: A Lenten Study for Individuals and Groups by Sharma D. Lewis. United Methodist Bishop Lewis invites readers to observe Lent by introspection, repentance, forgiveness, renewal, prayer, fasting, and Biblical study. Each daily reading ends with the “My Action” section, inviting readers to put into practice what they have read and reflected upon. Each Sunday, readers are asked to reflect and journal on the past week’s study using questions provided by the author.
A Just Passion: A Six-Week Lenten Journey by Esau McCaulley, Tish Harrison Warren, Sheila Wise Rowe, Ruth Haley Barton, and others. To better confront oppression in the world, we must own that reality and look to Christ our liberator. Lent is the opportune time for this as we contemplate his suffering together. With selections from a diverse range of InterVarsity Press books, A Just Passion has been curated to hold in tension the immense weight and hope of the Lenten season. This collection of short readings, breath prayers, and Scripture passages from the First Nations Version guides readers through a six-week journey of repentance, lament, worship, and healing.
My Body Is Good: Giving Up Diet Culture and Embracing Body Positivity for Lent by Anne Cumings. Equipped with a body-positive mindset, Cumings has created an engaging and uplifting study to guide readers through a Lenten season of celebrating their bodies. Written specifically for women, each daily meditation offers a scripture passage, a reflection, and a prayer. Readers are encouraged to capture their questions, ideas, and thoughts through journaling and other spiritual practices, all with the intention of healing from diet culture. Join her on this Lenten journey, and never again forget that your God-given body, made from dust, is good.
Lent & Anti-Racism Study (PDF Download)
Imago Dei (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) Lenten Bible Study. This five-week study is written in the style of Lectio Divina. In this form of Bible study, all participants are equal, all insights are of equal value, and there are no wrong answers to correct. This form of Bible study is built upon prayerful listening to the Holy Spirit and to each other. Each is to take turns sharing by mutual invitation. In this Bible study, we seek to share with one another the image of God, celebrating our diversity, our equity, and our inclusion. During the study, we are looking for the same image of God displayed in the lectionary text used with the hope that the use of this model might facilitate our ability to live in the image of God and to perceive that same sacred image in others.
This free study must be downloaded from The General Commission on Religion and Race of The United Methodist Church.
Triptych for Lent 2023
WesleyMen offers the next installment in the Triptych series for Lent 2023. A “triptych” (from the Greek, “triptukhon,” meaning, “three-fold”) is an art piece in three panels or sections, often hinged together, both literally and thematically. In this year of Matthew, we are afforded the opportunity to reflect upon the Nativity through the Resurrection from a Jewish perspective. As we do each Lent, we will rehearse the teaching of Jesus about generosity, prayer, and fasting. Through Matthew’s ‘lenses,’ we see Jesus as God’s anointed one, a great teacher in the manner of Moses, speaking with prophetic wisdom and authority. Matthew’s ‘genealogy’ connects Jesus with Abraham, and further finds Jesus as the fulfillment of First Testament prophecy, perhaps most notably, exile-prophet Isaiah.
This book is available in paperback, ebook, and PDF from FastPrayGive.org.
More DVD Studies for Lent
The Lord’s Prayer: The Meaning and Power of the Prayer Jesus Taught by Adam Hamilton. Hamilton explores each of the rich lines of the Lord’s Prayer and their meaning in the Bible, illuminating what we ask of God and what we ask of ourselves through its words. And he teaches us how to use it as a pattern for our own prayer life.
Witness at the Cross: A Beginner’s Guide to Holy Friday by Amy-Jill Levine. Levine shows how the people at the cross each have distinct roles to play. Each Evangelist presents a distinct picture of the death of Jesus. Each portrays different individuals and groups of people at the cross, each offers different images and dialogues, and so from each, we learn how those meanings and messages cross the centuries to any who would come to the cross today.
Jesus Revealed: The I Am Statements in the Gospel of John by Matt Rawle. Rawle explores the “I Am” statements in John as works of art that resonate throughout the Gospel and all of Scripture. He shows how these words point beyond themselves to the deep mystery of Jesus Christ.
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. 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. Robb looks at Christ’s final words from a biblical and historical perspective, showing how we can find life and hope in them.
The Passion Play: Living the Story of Christ’s Last Days by Rob Fuquay. Jesus’ Passion story is presented each Lent in countless churches every year. But one play presented by the inhabitants of the village of Oberammergau in Bavaria, Germany, may be one of the longest-running performances of all. In this study, Fuquay follows the biblical story of the Passion and shows how this amazing play has been used both as a ritual of praise and later as a weapon through its anti-Semitic past.
Even More DVD Studies for Lent!
The Media Center has 42 total DVD studies designed to be used in small groups during the Lenten season. Browse the full list and discover something new! The list also contains movies and documentaries that you can use to supplement your study.
More Book Studies for Lent
Our Lenten Prayer: Reflections and Observations from The Lord’s Prayer: A Lenten Study by Olu Brown. Rev. Brown believes that God is challenging us to fully release and trust God for all things in our lives during this Lenten season. It doesn’t mean we literally stop and cease to do anything, but we live and operate with the mindset that God is in control and has our best interests at heart even when we don’t fully understand what God is doing or perceive God’s presence in our lives and world. Olu reminds the reader that God is available to lead and guide us every step of the way.
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. Written especially for the Lenten season, the book is divided into six chapters designed to be used as weekly studies for individuals and small groups during Lent.
A Resurrection-Shaped Life: Dying and Rising on Planet Earth by Jake Owensby. Owensby leads us through a re-examination of the biblical concept of resurrection and illustrates how it can influence us as Christians every day. We’ll learn that 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.
Embracing the Uncertain: A Lenten Study for Unsteady Times by Magrey deVega. Engage and wrestle with life’s uncertainties, not ignore them. The six chapters focus on six post-Transfiguration, pre-Passion stories in the Gospels. Each of these stories is a signpost 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. Includes discussion questions that can be used in small-group Bible study sessions or for personal growth.
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. The six-session study provides biblical, social, and historical analyses of the spirituals. Leader helps can be found in the book providing discussion questions and activities.
A World Worth Saving: Lenten Spiritual Practices for Action by George Hovaness Donigian. God thinks the world is worth saving and invites Christians to join in the movement of redemption, Donigian emphasizes. He challenges readers to grow in their prayer life by praying about daily news reports, discovering the needs around them, and responding with love and compassion.
Even More Book Studies!
The Media Center has 26 book-based studies that were designed for small groups to use during the Lenten season. Browse the full list to find the right study for your group.
Not Your Standard Lenten Study
Looking for a Lenten study that is a bit off the beaten path? These DVD studies offer an unusual subject matter or more sessions than the typical six weeks.
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.” This study can be completed in 6 or 10 sessions.
The Grace of Les Miserables by Matt Rawle. Rawle dives into six ideals found in the story of Les Misérables—grace, justice, poverty, revolution, love, and hope—each represented by a character in Victor Hugo’s story. Rawle 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.
The Passion Narratives by Mickey Efird. If you are looking for an in-depth biblical study, join Dr. Efird as he walks students through each of the four Gospel accounts of Christ’s last days. The DVD has twelve 20-minute sessions.
Surprised By Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church by N.T. Wright. Jesus called his followers the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Your life here and now is of tremendous consequence, and what you believe about the future has a direct impact on how you live in the present. In six transforming, faith-inspiring sessions, premiere biblical scholar N. T. Wright opens your eyes to the amazing full scope of what God’s Word has to say about the world to come and the world that is.
The John Wayne Movie Bible Study by Stephen Skelton. Angel and the Badman is the most Christian film the Duke ever made. It is the redemption story of a wounded gunfighter and the Quaker family that helps him to heal—not only physically but also spiritually. These four sessions consider vice, virtue, decision, and redemption with clips of the movie. The student book can be copied for everyone in your group.
Easter from the Back Side by J. Ellsworth Kalas. Kalas looks beyond the traditional gospel scriptures to connect the story of Christ’s resurrection with other stories and scriptures throughout the Bible, including both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Kalas’s creative approach both clarifies basic teachings and introduces new possibilities of meaning, even for those who are most familiar with the Easter story.
A Time to Grow: Lenten Lessons from the Garden to the Table by Kara Eidson. Eidson encourages readers to slow down, move through the painstaking process of growth, and end together with great feasting and celebration of the resurrection. Readers will explore the intricacies of how faith is required to produce food and how that faith can lead us all to feast at the table on Easter morning.
Lent of Liberation: Confronting the Legacy of American Slavery by Cheri L. Mills. Each of these forty devotions for Lent 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.
Unrevealed Until Its Season: A Lenten Journey with Hymns by James C. Howell. Howell takes readers on a 40-day journey through popular songs of the church. Reflecting on well-loved hymn phrases, Howell helps readers discover who God is and what following Jesus means.
Good Enough by Kate Bowler and Jessica Richie. Bowler and Richie offer 40ish short spiritual reflections on how we can make sense of life not as a pursuit of endless progress but as a chronic condition. This book is a companion for when you want to stop feeling guilty that you’re not living your best life now.
Gifts of the Spiritual Wilderness by J. Dana Trent. In this daily devotional, readers will explore: What Jesus’s experience teaches us about the gifts to be found in our modern wilderness experiences; How a spiritual drought can create a more meaningful Lent experience; What fasting, sacrifice, and temptation look like in our daily lives; and How we prepare to experience new life on the side of the Lenten journey.
Rise: An Authentic Lenten Devotional by John Pavlovitz. Like the human experience, the spiritual journey is not a level path. It is about the falling and the rising. Rise is a 40-day journey of elevated hopes and ascending spirits. Each entry includes Scripture, a reflection, and a prayer.
More Devotional Books!
The Media Center has 24 devotional books designed for individual or group use during the Lenten season. Browse the full list to choose the right devotional for you.
Program and Worship Planning
Faithful Families for Lent, Easter, & Resurrection: Simple Ways to Create Meaning for the Season by Traci Smith. Parents, guardians, teachers, and ministers will find dozens of fun and easy practices for celebrating the Easter season with our kids. Smith also offers theological notes guiding parents on addressing the violence of the crucifixion and the meaning of Jesus’ death.
Messy Easter: Three Complete Sessions and a Treasure Trove of Ideas for Lent, Holy Week, and Easter by Jane Leadbetter. This book offers your church a tool to bring together people of all ages and stages of faith for a unique come-as-you-are experience of creativity—allowing space for all to play and create, celebration—worshiping God and his redeeming work in Jesus, hospitality—sharing a meal where all are welcome. These three once-a-month sessions include ideas for activities, games, crafts, food, and much more to help us learn about Lent, Holy Week, and Easter in an excitedly messy way.
Essential Lent: Holy Moments and Sacred Experiences for Your Whole Congregation by Aimee J. Jannsohn. This book offers interesting, easy-to-prepare activities and worship resources that invite your church to delve a little deeper into this season and make it more meaningful than ever. You’ll be encouraged to try new things in worship, but will find it equally fulfilling to practice traditional Lenten rituals included here, such as foot washing, stations of the cross, and more. It is designed to engage everyone in your congregation, regardless of age or individual faith journey.
Hearing God in Poetry: Fifty Poems for Lent and Easter by Richard Harries. From Yehuda Amichai and W. H. Auden to Phyllis Wheatley and Walt Whitman, this book invites you to take a closer look at fifty great poems by some of the finest poets in the English language. This beautiful Lent book for 2022 offers six poems for every week from Ash Wednesday, leading up to Holy Week, with ten poems specially chosen for Easter. A short reflection from Richard Harries accompanies each poet and the poem, drawing out their spiritual insights and how they communicate God’s presence.
Palm Sunday and Holy Week Services by Robin Knowles Wallace. This book features ready-to-use lectionary-based worship and preaching resources for Palm Sunday and Holy Week. It includes three options for Palm Sunday services, including procession suggestions with special emphasis on participation by children. Includes ready-to-use Palm Sunday and Holy Week services for worship with multiple worship options for each lectionary year scripture and gives suggested liturgies for each service, including those related to Taize.
Easter Services, Sermons, and Prayers by Kenneth H. Carter, Jr. Based on the Revised Common Lectionary and broadly ecumenical, this book provides creative liturgies, sermon helps, and prayers for Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday, and the 40 days of Easter.
For Youth & Children
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.
Touch the Water, Taste the Bread. This 6-week study, for children ages 4-8, will help you introduce your children to the sacraments, the Bible story about Jesus baptism and the Bible story about the Last Supper. This resource comes as a CD-ROM that has everything you need, the Leaders Guide, PowerPoints for teaching and lively music and sound effects that children will enjoy. Accompanying full-color storybooks are also available.
All-in-One Sunday School: Vol. 3: Spring by Lois Keffer. Discover 13 fun, Bible-based programs full of creative ideas for classes with kids ages 4 to 12. Volume 3 contains lessons that are seasonally tied to Spring, including Jesus’ life and resurrection.
More Resources for Children & Families!
The Media Center has 15 resources for youth to use during Lent. Many of these are companions to adult studies. Browse the full list to find the right Lenten study for your youth group.
The Media Center has 16 DVDs and 34 picture books for children that are related to the Lenten season. Browse the full list to choose videos and books that will help you to teach your children about Lent and Easter.
The Michigan Conference of The United Methodist Church published this excellent list of Lenten resources for ministries with children. It includes playlists, printables, activities, kits, and more.
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.