Supplementary material for Rural Mission Sunday
These materials are also available to download.
Prayer of adoration
the natural world sings your praises.
We see you reflected in every living thing.
Give us eyes to see you in those around us
and ears to hear your call.
May we grow into the people you formed us to be,
ready to share your love with those we meet.
In Jesus’ name,
Prayer of confession
Loving God you call us to follow you:
for the times we fail to hear
for the times when we go our own way
for the times when we fail to care for our neighbour
Help us to begin again, to hear your voice and to see you in everyone.
In Jesus name we ask it
Prayer of blessing
May God the Maker bless you as you follow;
May God the Son walk with you on the journey;
May God the Spirit equip you as you serve;
May God the Three in One hold you in love now and always.
Called by Christ to be disciples (Martin Leckebusch)
Come with me, come wander (John L. Bell and Graham Maule)
God it was who said to Abraham (John L. Bell and Graham Maule)
I will offer up my life (Matt Redman)
Jesus be the centre (Michael Frye)
Sent by the Lord am I (Jose Aguiar, trans. Jorge Maldonado)
Teach me, my God and King (George Herbert)
We are marching in the light of God / Siyahamba (Andries Van Tonder)
Mark 1: 16-20
Since the call of the disciples is told in each of the Gospels in different ways, it is important to look at what Mark is saying rather than conflate the different accounts.
An introduction focusing on Mark’s view of the disciples
For Mark the subject of discipleship is central to his Gospel and he gives an honest picture of the disciples who make many mistakes as they learn what it means to follow Jesus. Mark is keen to show the power and authority of Jesus. The call is sudden and the answer radical. There is no sign of a previous meeting as in other accounts. For many in rural congregations this may not resonate with their experience.
How might you unpack the idea of call for your congregation?
Are there people in the congregation who have had a call to be a local preacher/reader, pastoral visitor or other church office who might be prepared to talk or write about it?
Being called by God to do something is not always as radical as this picture; it might be felt more as an idea to do something practical. Perhaps the church congregation is being called to do something for the community e.g. start a drop-in, have a fun day etc.
Help people to realise that being called is not just about church; people can be called to specific occupations. Those who are not working might be called to join a particular group or volunteer in the wider community. There might be people who are happy to talk about why they are a teacher for example, or why they help at the Men’s Shed.
It is important to remember that we are all called to live out our faith whatever we are doing and in small rural communities where everyone knows who goes to church this has particular opportunities and challenges. If we are going to ‘live the life’ we need to help and support each other.
Below are some resources which have been produced by national denominations to equip and resource their churches to explore how they might ‘live the life’ together.
Although these resources have been produced by specific denominations they each have much to offer churches across the ecumenical spectrum. In the same way, while they are not specifically designed for rural churches they will contain much that is of benefit to our churches and communities.
Setting God’s People Free (Church of England)
‘A programme of change to enable the whole people of God to live out the Good News of Jesus confidently in all of life, Sunday to Saturday.’
Our Calling (Methodist Church)
Responding to the gospel of God’s love in Christ and living out its discipleship in worship and mission.
Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today (United Reformed Church)
‘The URC’s exciting focus on lifelong Christian discipleship and mission.’