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Giving Up: A Lenten Study Recap

April 10, 2019
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This Lenten season we were excited to offer the first hybrid study, where people could either fellowship at individual homes or here at the church before being linked together through an online platform for a weekly lesson.
Home host Leah Bailey said: “Our group loved being able to be in community and fellowship in our own neighborhood with our church friends.  It was easy for everyone’s schedule to come to a home close by eat dinner, enjoy fellowship and have a lesson. The format was perfect in aiding those who live further from church to stay connected with the larger church community but in a small, intimate setting.”

Below, Rev. Evan Jones recaps the study experience.  

Throughout the Metroplex, FirstChurch members gathered for study and fellowship during the Lenten season. Using innovative technology, homes were connected to the church via an online meeting platform where they were able to see and hear a different clergy each week teach about Bible verses and the Lenten theme of “Sacrifice.” Each group also engaged in a guided discussion which allowed them to analyze and explore scripture and begin to apply practical insights to their everyday lives.

The groups found a great sense of community as they ate meals together and explored this challenging topic. After a time of discussion, groups were able to send questions to the speaker and these questions or comments were then summarized and addressed during a brief time of conclusion.

Each week participant’s explored scripture in new ways as we sought to be challenged with a new understanding of sacrifice.:

  • In week one, led by Rev. Evan Jones, we explored the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22. We were challenged to see how we might be called to radical sacrifice.
  • In week two, led by Rev. Ann Willet, we explored different theories of “Atonement.” Using Mark 15 as the basis for our exploration, we were challenged to explore how Christ’s work on the cross might lead us into a more sacrificial way of living.
  • In week three, led by Rev. JoNell Lindh, we used Mark 10 to challenge us on what “selling everything” might mean for our lives today.
  • In week four, led by Dr. Andy Stoker, we contrasted “living” and “sacrifice.” Using Romans 12 & John 15, we were challenged to focus more on “feeding” our compassionate and loving side rather than cynicism and negativity.
  • In week five, led by Rev. Holly Bandel, we examined a familiar passage in Micah 6 that challenged us to ask what kind of sacrifice God wants for us.

Each week confronted our notions of sacrifice during Lent, so that it becomes less about chocolate or caffeine, but instead might implore us towards a more lasting and more intentional way of living for the sake of others.

The response to this new way of study was encouraging, and we look forward to offering more flexible discipleship and educational opportunities as we build out our offerings. We are grateful that technology is allowing us to learn and connect with one another in new ways.




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