The first of 2023’s Breakthrough series is in full swing in many local congregations across EPA, GNJ and beyond. Fresh Start, designed for use at the beginning of a new year, gives a different take on New Year’s resolutions. Instead of getting swept up in the tide of personal goal setting, the series asks us to consider what fresh start God is leading us into, and what we may have to give up, change or take on to say “yes” to it.
This versatile series would also be well suited for use after Easter or at the beginning of any season when people and congregations need to hear that God is still calling God’s people into something new.
The Rev. Wade Jackson, pastor of Wayside and Cedar Grove United Methodist churches had this to say about Fresh Start:
2022 was a difficult year for me after losing my father, having two joint replacement surgeries and dealing with a severe staph infection that caused me to spend 18 days in the hospital. For my churches, it was a difficult year, losing several longtime members and friends, and doing without their pastor present because of health issues.
We all needed a fresh start, and this series is helping us to discover how and where we can again focus on what God is calling us to. Throughout the Scriptures, there are many who got a fresh start because of their relationship with the Triune God. From Saul, to Zaccheaus, to the Prodigal Son, to the woman at the well—all were changed when they encountered God. They got a fresh start, and so can we. I am grateful for this series and all who put this together.”
Breakthrough Lenten series:
Questions to God
This year’s Breakthrough series for Lent, Questions to God, is a series that gives people permission to be honest about their doubts, questions and curiosities. Each week examines a different “Frequently Asked Question” about Christian faith and opens up the Scriptures in search of wisdom to respond to it.
The series by no means offers clearcut, easy answers. Rather, it creates space for the questions and invites people into an ongoing dialogue with Scripture, tradition, reason and their own experience. One thing I love about this series is that it provides an opening for people to invite their friends, families and neighbors who are less familiar with Christianity to church. It puts the hard questions out on the table so newcomers and longtime members alike can ask their own questions without fear.
I am also encouraged that it will resonate with young people. I received a request from a pastor to use the series when a high school intern discovered it through an internet search and suggested the church use it for Lent. Of course, all congregations in GNJ, EPA and
everywhere, regardless of denomination or location, are more than welcome to use Breakthrough.
Please let us know how you use any of our Breakthrough series and how it helps you and your congregation engage fully in worship, discipleship or other dimensions of Christian life.