40 Ways to Keep Parishioners from Giving up Your Church Site for Lent

The Safe Way to Do Lent at Your Catholic Church (Photo by Mark Alves)Want to hook your parishioners throughout Lent so they keep coming back long after Easter? Then tempt them with enticing Lenten content on your church website or blog. Here are 40 ideas to get you started.

  1. Polls/surveys. “What Are You Giving Up For Lent?” with multiple-choice options such as sweets, drinking, Facebook and TV is one way to start. Try Do Sundays “Count” in Lent? on the first weekend in Lent. How Well Are You Keeping Up With Your Lenten Goals? can be asked later in the season.
  2. Lenten reflections, such as encouraging 10 minutes a day of prayer (Concord Pastor), or “Finding Your Priorities This Lent” or “Thirst For Justice, Hunger for Peace” or praying a novena as suggested by Catholic Matriarch.
  3. #AshTag photos. Show pics of a cross-section of your parishioners with their ashes. Search Instagram or check NPR’s collection for examples to get you started.
  4. Non-meat recipes for Fridays. Catholic Cuisine will give you inspiration.
  5. Daily reflections on the Scriptures, such as from the US Bishops, the Catholic Information Network, RC.net, Creighton U, EWTN, Mobile Gabriel and one of my favorites: Pray As You Go. Or add the audio of the daily readings to your site.
  6. Top 10 lists to lighten the mood. “10 Funniest Things to Give Up for Lent” or come up with your own, such as “Things That Sound Hard to Give Up for Lent, But Aren’t” (what would you put on this list?) or “Top Comebacks for ‘Hey, You Have a Smudge on Your Forehead.'”
  7. Saints of the day. Try the Saints & Angels list or American Catholic’s Saint of the Day (also an iPhone app).
  8. Almsgiving suggestions, such as charities or events you have in place; local or parish almsgivng; or solicit ways to donate to specific projects.
  9. Pinterest. It’s the new Ladies Auxiliary. Here are examples.
  10. Sackcloth fashion tips.
  11. Tweet the daily readings and a reflection. Retweet these from @TodaysReadings (by Yours Truly).
  12. Schedules for your church. Ashes schedule for Ash Wednesday (especially effective if added before the start of Lent!); Holy Week; Stations of the Cross; Penance/reconciliation services.
  13. Black History Month resources. Here’s how St. Charles does it.
  14. Suggestions for things to give up for Lent and let readers add to your list; or, on the flip side, suggetions for what to take on for Lent.
  15. RCIA convert stories. Or give an overview of the process and collect stories for next year.
  16. Instructions on how to go to confession to accompany the penance schedule of reconciliation service; add a personal reflection for bonus points.
  17. Bible mapping service that shows where your favorite passages take place on the map.
  18. Information about the art in your church. Here’s an example of stained glass windows.
  19. Palm (of your hand) Sunday. Promote the mobile version of your website.
  20. Washing of the Feet photos. Show some of your own and they are sure to attract attention. Here are some examples for you.
  21. Reflections on suffering, sacrifice or similar Lent-related themes. Or by schoolkids.
  22. Online stations of the cross. Examples: Creighton University, a version for kids and another.
  23. Online prayer partners. Create a posting page for those who want a prayer partner for Lent
  24. Your local politicians’ contact info. Prompt your visitors to pick a justice-related topic to write in about during Lent.
  25. Take a break from Lent with a March Madness parody.
  26. Shrove Tuesday – explain how this is the day before Ash Wednesday; include a favorite pancake recipe.
  27. Advertise your volunteers list or newsletters. Help those looking to do more during Lent.
  28. AmericanCatholic content – this site has ideas for each liturgical season
  29. Make your own PHP e-cards for the season.
  30. Start optimizing your site for Easter — so the crowds can find you.
  31. Assemble your pastor’s best Lent homilies.
  32. Instructions for adding your church to your will, for those thinking of almsgiving beyond Lent. Here’s how the Catholic Foundation describes the process.
  33. Online book club — read a Lent book and publish feedback.
  34. St. Patrick’s Day often is during Lent — provide links to St. Patrick and other Irish saints.
  35. Easter Resurrection Cookies recipe. Tape shut your oven door and see what happens.
  36. Online prayer tree — appropriate time to remind visitors if your church has one, or start one if you don’t.
  37. Interesting Bible sites, such as a Bible search engine or side-by-side comparisons.
  38. Catechism search engine.
  39. Operation Rice Bowl.
  40. Local resources for 12-step, self-help programs for those hoping to give up their addictions for more than the 40 days of Lent. AA meeting-finder.
  41. Basket blessings. You were good all Lent so you deserve more than a plain ol’ basket.

Since you’re thinking about how to help your readers on their Lenten journeys, what are you adding to your site for Lent?


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