This idea can be used by individuals or churches of any size. The more people who get involved, the bigger the impact!
What’s the idea?
Think of something you do on a regular basis, that costs you money and that you can give up for Lent. It could be something you give up completely (like chocolate), or something where you pick a cheaper alternative (like inviting a friend around for coffee, instead of meeting at a coffee house). Keep track of the money you save each week, and put it in a money box (if you do this as a whole church, make it easy for people to give there too).
Where does the money go?
What needs are there in your community that you could do something about? One church in Watford committed the money collected in Lent to their local hospital that was struggling to buy equipment for its children’s ward. The hospital was stunned when the church gave over £5,000 – questioning whether an extra ‘0’ had been added by mistake! You could talk to local charities and projects about their needs. Consider giving the money to a school that would benefit from some new equipment, or speak to the council about whether you could buy play equipment for a park. Alternatively you could use the money to help those in poverty around the world. You could use the money raised to sponsor children through Compassion (www.compassionuk.org) or get involved with a national scheme called ‘Lend us your Lent’ sun by Soul Action, a joint initiative between Soul Survivor and Tearfund. The money raised through ‘Lend us you Lent’ will go towards Soul Action projects (www.soulaction.org).
You could sacrifice one of the following:
- Choose a cheaper brand in the supermarket
- Make lunch at home instead of buying it at work
- Rent a DVD instead of going to the cinema
- Have a soft drink when you go to the pub instead of alcohol
- Give up buying chocolate, downloading music or buying magazines for the duration of Lent.
If you don’t spend much money on luxuries, then you could donate some of your time instead.
- Forgo a quiet Saturday morning or Sunday afternoon to clear an overgrown area
- Offer a lunch break once a week to help a child in school learn to read
- Find out if anyone has a need in your community, that you could meet Another option is to ‘Count Your Blessings’.
Several charities such as Mothers’ Union and Christian Aid offer ideas for this scheme, which helps people taking part to thank God for the blessings people in the UK enjoy, when compared with people living in poverty in other parts of the world. Each day during Lent, there is something to count - like the number of taps in your home, or the number of books on your shelves. There’s a suggested amount to give for each item and a short prayer, giving thanks for running water or education for example. The small amounts set aside daily can mount up to a significant gift.