How did #LiveLent 2018 help people to take the journey to Easter?


#LiveLent logo
This year we focused our Lent campaign, #LiveLent, on a six-week discipleship journey through the Gospel of John, exploring what it means to be a witness from Ash Wednesday to Easter Day.

The course was written by John Kiddle, Archdeacon of Wandsworth, in association with Thy Kingdom Come, the Archbishops’ global prayer movement.

We’re thrilled to announce that this year’s campaign had an overall targeted reach of 3.54 million across the Church of England’s social media channels.

To help as many people as possible walk with Jesus throughout Lent and support local churches, we produced the materials listed below:

  • #LiveLent reflections:
    • A reach of 3.54 million across Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
    • More than 35,000 copies of the printed booklets sold
    • More than 16,500 signed up to receive by text and email
  • A #LiveLent Android and iOS app downloaded over 11,000 times
  • Short explainer videos for Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day to explain the significance of each – watched 164,045 times
  • Good Friday and Easter Day video prayers – seen more than 300,000 times
  • Additional downloadable group resources, logos and posters.

The new A Church Near You website played a key part in this year’s #LiveLent campaign. We saw a 27% uplift in time spent on the site and 12% increase in page views in comparison to Lent 2017. The bounce rate (the number of people leaving the site after only visiting one page) dropped by 21%, which is a fantastic result.

We were also pleased to see local church groups using the digital materials in a variety of ways, including WhatsApp study groups, and sharing the daily email reflections.

The most popular post shared over the Lent and Easter Day period on social media was:

Our most watched video was the Good Friday prayer:

We asked people who took the #LiveLent course to tell us what they thought of it and the results from the 2,000+ responses are really encouraging. Some 78% per cent found the reflections very helpful or extremely helpful in bringing them closer to God and supporting their Christian faith.

One of the major innovations this year was to make the reflections available in different formats and lengths for print, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email and text messages. We’ve had a positive response to splitting content up by platform and here are a few of the hundreds of comments received:

I had a stroke one year and a half years ago which affected my right side of the body so don’t get out as I used to, I found LiveLent was my way of keeping in God's company.

I appreciated the succinct message and visuals. It helped me to focus on an aspect of the Easter story at the beginning of each day.

I have been hugely impressed with the depth and thoughtfulness of #LiveLent. I have found it a very good way to follow a Lenten journey and it has been so accessible over different forms of media... I hope that the CofE does more of these series as they are a great promotion of faith and faithful living in the modern world.

Thank you, as someone very busy at this time of year it provided depth and reflection in a concise, not too wordy, attractive format. I know it was used and appreciated by many of our congregation too.

We owe huge thanks to John Kiddle for writing the course, and to Anna Drew for the weekly groupwork exercises.

All of these insights help as we continue to explore and develop digital and social media resources to bring people into relationship with God and a local church at key moments in the Christian year.

Adrian Harris is Head of Digital and Thomas Allain Chapman is Publishing Manager at the Church of England

#LiveLent is part of the Church of England's Renewal and Reform programme, aimed at helping us become a growing Church for all people and for all places.