‘How can a small rural church do mission?’

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Here are some tips from Lizzie Hackney (Herefordshire Diocese) and Kat Gregory-Witham (Blackburn Diocese), drawn from our online series of videos on issues in mission, 'The 95 Talks'.

You may be short of resources, but blessed in other ways. Being in a strong, cross-generational rural community means it’s easier to build relationships that lead to faith-related conversations. And there’s more opportunity to create a new expression of ‘church’ for nonchurch children through assemblies and clubs at local schools. Boost your volunteers – seek help from other churches in the area to help you introduce children to Jesus. Mission doesn’t require a special formula, skillset or training – God uses many ways and many types of people. Find out more at: www.missionstyles.org.

Being in a strong, cross-generational rural community means it’s easier to build relationships that lead to faith-related conversations.

Willing non-Christians can provide a supporting role, perhaps running crafts or helping with catering. They will also benefit from hearing the gospel message!

Value the young people in your church. Involve them in your missions: they have an important role to play. Take them to regional church events – it gives them a sense of being part of something much bigger and helps them build supportive relationships with their peers.

Non-Christians, both local and visiting, like to visit rural church buildings. They say they experience a sense of awe from being there. So offer a great welcome and generous hospitality, and make it ‘theirs’.

Do what you can with what you’ve got! It’s an opportunity to be creative.

Here are some ideas*:

  • Offer tea and toast to parents and children, if the church is on a school run. Many children don’t get a proper breakfast in the morning. Those living alone might also appreciate the opportunity to meet with others and feel part of something.
  • At the church or village fete, put a prayer shack next to other stalls and invite children along.
  • Open a garden up, have a BBQ and invite neighbouring families for food and fellowship.
  • Messy Church too hard? Have a oneoff Messy Church for Easter or Advent, or hold a Light Party at Halloween.
  • Have a ‘name your favourite hymn’ competition, then invite families to sing them one evening. Miss out the sermon, and be generous with the refreshments!
  • Be a light to those in need – visit the lonely and sick, give a lift to those who can’t get into town by other means, donate clothes, set up a selfservice food box in your church.
  • Start a book or film club or do a prayer walk round your village.
  • If God’s already been prompting you – do the one thing he’s asked!

*ideas from Mark Ingles, an Intergenerational Mission Priest in Tenbury

Join in online with the discussions about mission and watch Lizzie and Kat’s talks

Sign up to The 95 Campaign (if you’ve not already done so) then join The 95 Community Facebook Group where you can access the videos and much more.

Pick up resources to help you do mission

We’ve got loads of resources, tips and ideas on how to set up and run your mission.

This story featured in our supporter magazine, Connecting You. To read more stories like this click here.


  • Connecting You December 2017 – February 2018,
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