Discipleship in daily Life

Resources for Developing Discipleship From the Ministry Division, Education Division & Mission and Public Affairs Division Discipleship in daily Life...
Author: Griffin Fleming
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Resources for Developing Discipleship From the Ministry Division, Education Division & Mission and Public Affairs Division

Discipleship in daily Life Including resources for worship and liturgy Introduction and Summary This paper is based upon a series of resources provided by the National Adviser for Adult Education and Lay Development. It includes resources for liturgy and worship, recognising that our worship can sometimes lack consistent reference to Christian life in the world and so, unwittingly, can appear to separate discipleship from daily life. The paper makes the fundamental point that discipleship is our primary calling and the normative locus for discipleship is daily life in the world. All calling to specific forms of ministry are subsequent to discipleship and are particular expressions of the baptismal call to discipleship for some people. This paper may be of value in sign-posting possible resources which might help to embed a broad and deep approach to discipleship. The first Mark of Developing Discipleship in the life of a diocese refers to supporting a life-long journey of discipleship. The second refers to the importance of affirming discipleship in daily life. This paper will inform both of these. It will also resource the third Mark which emphasises discipleship being celebrated in worship.

Discipleship as our Primary Calling 1.

In 1985 a series of essays from a working party of the General Synod Board of Education entitled All are Called – Towards a Theology of the Laity, noted that the identity of the clergy had been the focus of debate for many years but rarely the identity of the laity who make up over 99% of the Church. It also noted a tendency to explore the identity and place of the laity from within a clerical framework.


The introduction to Common Worship: Christian Initiation draws attention to the ‘fresh thinking about the nature of baptism as expressing the identity and call of the Christian community today’1. Our baptismal identify means that we are incorporated into the very life of God himself. Since in baptism we die and rise with Christ we are, as sheer gift, given a share in Christ’s victory over death and invited to respond in lives of discipleship and service. All specific expressions of ministry are secondary to and subsequent to this primary baptismal calling to discipleship. Lay discipleship rooted in society and daily life



The main task of lay discipleship within the people of God is being grounded and

Common Worship: Christian Initiation, page 3


Resources for Developing Discipleship From the Ministry Division, Education Division & Mission and Public Affairs Division rooted in the world in society2. The primary lay task is ‘searching for, holding to, living in, struggling, and dying in the creative centre of the culture’ because it is here that the Word of God will be found3. Here is where ‘God’s creativity and redemptive acts are contending with forces of meaninglessness, dispersion, disorder and despair’4 because God created the whole world which includes secular activity. The world is part of God’s purposes and he wishes all the world to reflect his glory5. A change of mind set? 4.

If this missional understanding of the primary task of the laity is to become reality maybe a change of mind set is needed. Rather than perceiving the primary task of the laity as assisting the clergy in mission and ministry, we need to see the missional task as undertaken in partnership where lay discipleship, exercised primarily in society, is supported by the ministry of the clergy whose role is to animate, sustain, feed and support. Lay disciples therefore have the task of holding before the Church the essence of their life in the world whilst bearing witness to God’s often hidden work in the world, where many may need convincing that they are already loved by God and redeemed6.

Resources to support growth in discipleship 5.

The resources which follow seek to enable better engagement in the life of the Church with matters relating to discipleship in daily life.


Pilgrim (greater detail is available in a separate paper called ‘Pilgrim’) This is a new set of resources commissioned by the House of Bishops for the Church of England. It is intended as a contemporary catechetical tool for small groups to help form and shape Christians in the living of the life of discipleship. One particular feature of it is the consistent encouragement to participants to reflect upon scripture and tradition in the context of the daily living out of their faith. See http://www.pilgrimcourse.org/ (accessed 09.09.14) There is a longer paper called The Pilgrim Course in this collection off Resource Papers which gives more detail about the programme.


The Bible Society


This is the one of the key themes in All are Called: Towards a Theology of the Laity, 1985, General Synod, Board of Education. 3 All are Called, page 16 4 All Are Called page 16 5 All are Called page 30 6 All are Called page 30


Resources for Developing Discipleship From the Ministry Division, Education Division & Mission and Public Affairs Division Their LYFE material relates to discipleship in everyday life. Some have found this of particular use with younger adults. See LYFE http://www.biblesociety.org.uk/aboutbible-society/our-work/lyfe/ (accessed 09.09.14)

Spiritual practices and personal prayer 8.

A sample of resources which focus on prayer and spirituality in daily life: The ReJesus website http://www.rejesus.co.uk/site/module/celtic_spirituality/P5/http://www.rejesus.co.uk /site/module/celtic_spirituality/P5/ (accessed 09.09.14) Celtic Prayers http://www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Blessings_and_Prayers.htm (accessed 09.09.14) The Ignatian examen http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/ (accessed 09.09.14) Faith in the home http://www.going4growth.org.uk/growth_in_faith_and_worship/faith-in-the-home (accessed 09.09.14) Praying each day – from the De La Salle Brothers http://www.prayingeachday.org/100Prayers.pdf (accessed 09.09.14)

9. This resource, using the title of a well know hymn, comprises an article written for the Roots Worship magazine by the National Adviser for Adult Education and Lay Development in 2006. It includes reflection upon whole life discipleship followed by material for worship. Material from it can be used freely, provided it is accompanied by the following information: ‘This material first appeared in Roots Worship magazine, © Roots for Churches Ltd’.

Seven Whole Days, not one in seven… © Roots for Churches Ltd. Why? ‘Send us out, in the power of your spirit, to live and work to your praise and glory’. This prayer, sometimes used towards the end of a Service, reminds us that praise is to continue – not be forgotten until the congregation arrive at church the following week. Living and working to God’s glory is – we know – our calling and aspiration. We are all called to be disciples ‘24/7’, as today’s terminology describes it. The recognition that our daily activity is a valued part of God's purpose and of our serving and praising needs to be reinforced and echoed in our worship. A wise spiritual mentor once said to me ‘We become what we pray’. What is true for an individual is also true of a church community. If we are to become a church of whole life Christian


Resources for Developing Discipleship From the Ministry Division, Education Division & Mission and Public Affairs Division disciples, we need to pray for this aspect of our life in corporate prayer and worship, asking God to continue to make use of all our activities to become channels of His gifts of grace to the world. These attitudes can be incorporated continually. Prayers can be offered for the work and witness of all worshippers, not just for the work of our minister and his family. God can be praised and thanked for different ways in which grace is experienced in the world, as well as for the good things that have happened within our church congregation. Intercession may be offered for the challenges congregation members face in their work in the world, as well as for current world crises or disasters that the media help us to be aware of. We may think of the witness offered by the church, not of the witness offered by relationships and involvement in the wider community. When? The summer months offer many people a time of refreshment and renewal – and along with those in the academic world there is often the sense of one session coming to an end and another beginning. This may offer a suitable opportunity either to hold a special service to offer thanks for activities that have been undertaken, or to recommit to work that is to be done in the months ahead. Other opportunities to focus on this theme may be particularly appropriate in certain denominations or geographical contexts. For example, several denominations designate a particular Sunday as Vocations Sunday, and this could be an opportunity to focus on a range of callings and service. Harvest celebrations might offer an opportunity to focus on the offering and stewardship of the gifts we use in the world. In some Church of England parishes rogationtide is marked – the traditional time to pray for the seed that had been sown, and this could offer opportunities to pray for growth and development of the service we offer in the world.

How? The suggestions that follow are ingredients that can be woven into any worship service. Alternatively, they could be used to help put together a service that celebrates and prays for the life, activity and work in which members of the congregation are involved. It is important to remember and include those whose current chapter of life involves retirement, unemployment, voluntary work, parenthood or domestic caring roles – as well as those in a wide range of administrative, leadership support and service activities.

Possible Bible Readings Proverbs 8: 22-31; Amos 5: 6-15; Micah 6: 6-8; Matthew 5: 13-16; Matthew 25:14-29; Matthew 25:3140; Luke 10:25-37 Praise Several Psalms of praise may be used. This is patterned on Psalm 150: O Praise God in his holiness Praise him in the world that he has made Praise him for his mighty love Praise him for creating and inspiring life Praise him through our living and our working Praise him through our speaking and making and thinking Praise him in encounters with neighbours and with strangers Praise him in creations of art and of science Praise him through work for peace and for justice Praise him through struggles for a world like his kingdom Let everything that has breath Praise the Lord through all its life.


Resources for Developing Discipleship From the Ministry Division, Education Division & Mission and Public Affairs Division Confession Leader

Christ has no body now on earth but ours No hands, no feet, on earth but ours


Our hands have done our work, not Christ’s - forgive us Our feet have followed our ways, not Christ’s - forgive us Our eyes have not looked with Christ’s compassion - forgive us


May God forgive us and bless us Through God’s grace, may we be Christ’s body on earth


Lord, may our hands do your work in the world - Christ be with us May our feet walk your way through the world - Christ be with us May we see the world with your eyes - Christ be with us. Amen

Prayer of Intercession or Meditation Lord Jesus - we give thanks that you came to live, incarnate, in this world. We ask you to live in us, so through us your love may be seen in the world. Lord Jesus - Carpenter of Nazareth, we pray for those who make and mend, Craftsmen and labourers, in workshops, factories and homes, in town and in country. Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - who walked in fields and with fishermen on the shore We pray for those who help provide our daily needs From land and sea, producing and moving and distributing, maintaining services we often take for granted Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - friend of outcasts and sinners We pray for those whom society sidelines and those who work with them In prisons and in courts , with asylum seekers and refugees Amongst elderly people and those with mental difficulties Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - healer and life giver We pray for those who work to promote healing and health Medical workers and researchers, those who shape and organise health services, Carers in communities and hospitals Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - teacher on hillside and in synagogue We pray for those who teach and show others the way Parents and carers of children, workers in schools and colleges and universities Makers of resources that encourage learning Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - who challenged convention and asked questions We pray for those who speak out for the values of your kingdom Those who challenge injustice and untruth, those who campaign for the well being of others, Those whose work promotes the common good Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - hailed as King We pray for those who lead and those who govern -


Resources for Developing Discipleship From the Ministry Division, Education Division & Mission and Public Affairs Division Those whose decisions shape patterns of business, commerce and trade, Those who hold power in local and national government Those who seek to create a peaceful and just world for all Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - scorned and rejected We pray for those who feel they are not wanted or needed Those who seek employment, those who have no home Those whose lives feel curtailed by illness, disability or bereavement Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - dying for others We pray for those who daily make sacrifices for the good of others Supporting the vulnerable, working as volunteers in communities, Those whose sacrifices are known to you alone Inspire them, Lord Jesus Fill them with your love Lord Jesus - risen and glorious We pray for all those who through their lives bring hope to others Those whose gifts and skills enrich our lives Those whose work brings light to the world Inspire us all, Lord Jesus Fill us with your love and grace So that our lives reveal your hope and glory in the world. Amen

Offertory The offertory is sometimes thought of as a collection, rather than as an offering of gifts. An offertory procession can be planned so that people (either representatives or, with prior notice, all who would like to participate) bring a symbol of their activity or work and bring it to offer a central point (e.g. a shop worker might bring an item of their uniform, a craftsperson a tool of the trade, a parent a book on childrearing, in an all-age service a child could bring a school-book or toy). It is appropriate to have a prayer over the offerings:

We offer these symbols of our life in our work In the name of the Father, who created the world, and all that is in it In the name of the Son, who offered himself In the name of the Spirit, who empowers our lives today. Amen

Creative ideas that could be included in services a) Have available post-card size cards and a crayon for each person. • Invite people to draw on the card a sketch of the place where they will be on Monday (or where they regularly spend weekdays). • In pairs or small groups invite people to share where this is and what they will be doing, and pray for each other. • Invite people to come and put their cards in a suitable place (maybe at the front of the church). An appropriate song could be used while this is done – such as the South African song ‘Thuma Mina’ ( Send me Lord) , or Matt Redman’s ‘I will offer up my life’


Resources for Developing Discipleship From the Ministry Division, Education Division & Mission and Public Affairs Division

b) Based on a service held at St Martin-in-the-Fields

Advance preparation: Arrange for 3 or 4 people to come forward with saucers of salt (or more if numbers are very large). If your church has a large candle (e.g. a paschal candle) it is appropriate to use this and stand around it. Activity:

Read Matthew 5: 13-16

Leader All

Christ bids us be salt of the earth Lord make us salt of the earth For the service of your people and the glory of your kingdom

Leader All

Christ bids us be light to the world. Lord, make us light to the world, Showing light to your people for the glory of your kingdom

Invite people to come forward to receive a pinch of salt in the palm of their hand, given with the words ‘Remember. Your are salt and light for the world’.

Music Worship songs Some can be adapted by the addition of extra verses – e.g. ‘In my life lord, be glorified’ can include ‘In my work Lord… In my home Lord ….. etc’ Hymns • • • • • • • • •

Brother, Sister let me serve you Forth in thy name, O Lord I go Lord of all hopefulness Make me a channel May the mind of Christ my Saviour Thou who camest from above Take my life, and let it be Teach me my God and King When I needed a neighbour, were you there

Less familiar contemporary Hymns • Come, Holy Spirit, come, by M Forster – based on 1 Cor 12 (Hymns Old and New) • Lord as we rise to leave the shell of worship, by F.Kaan (Hymns Ancient and Modern – New Standard Edition) • What does the Lord require? by Albert Bayly (100 Hymns for Today)