Discipleship in daily Life

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
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?
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
Resources to support growth in discipleship
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
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.
All are Called, page 16
All Are Called page 16
All are Called page 30
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
A sample of resources which focus on prayer and spirituality in daily life:
The ReJesus website
/site/module/celtic_spirituality/P5/ (accessed 09.09.14)
Celtic Prayers
http://www.faithandworship.com/Celtic_Blessings_and_Prayers.htm (accessed
The Ignatian examen
http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/ (accessed 09.09.14)
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)
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.
‘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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Read Matthew 5: 13-16
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
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’.
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’
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
• What does the Lord require? by Albert Bayly (100 Hymns for Today)