We are committed to serving the rural churches of the UK and supporting them in their mission. We work comfortably and respectfully with a variety of Christian traditions. Our staff members have rural ministry experience and are sensitive to the issues affecting rural churches and rural church leadership.
While at the heart of mission is the proclamation of the gospel and nurturing disciples, we also recognise the importance of a broad understanding of mission that includes the care of the needy, social justice, and the care of the environment.
Rural Mission presents a number of special challenges. Approximately 10 million people live in the rural areas in communities no greater than 5,000 scattered across at least 90% of the land mass of the UK.
Evangelising in small close-knit communities within a post Christendom culture calls for sensitivity and gentleness. The disparate and insular nature of our villages makes communication difficult. Many villages are also a complex mixture of people.
These and other factors present challenges to mission. But there are also splendid opportunities. Understanding the constraints and opportunities is fundamental to our work, all of which operate only at the request of a rural church or group of churches. This includes...
We are pleased to offer free consultations to rural clergy, ministers and lay leadership wishing to explore the issues of being more missional.
We frequently lead Church Away-Days to enable congregations to explore the topic. These are carefully designed to be enjoyable and to allay anxieties about mission and evangelism that often exist in small rural churches. They are interactive, informative and fun.
We commend engagement with the Tailored Mission approach. This is a developmental process in which congregations are led in exploring how best to share in God's mission in ways that fit them, their location, and threir budget. Above all the outcome has to suit the church in its style so that all feel comfortable about any mission agenda.
The word evangelism tends to provoke a hesitant response in many rural churches because of unhelpful images and poor practise. However, we have a wonderful life-changing story to share with those around us.
Long experience in settled ministry in rural areas in addition to extensive experience working with churches of various traditions has tempered the ways in which we engage in evangelism.
One of the most popular activities is our Song and Story programme. These normally last around an hour and are ideal whether as stand alone events or following a men's breakfast, harvest supper, etc. They contain amusing stories and thought provoking stories interspersed with a range of gospel songs sung to professional backing tracks.
Continuing research into rural ministry and mission is at the heart of our organisation which helps to ensure that we can write and teach with confidence that we are addressing the range of contemporary rural communities and Christian traditions.
In addition to speaking and teaching in conferences, clergy training days, and similar we have provided and taught rural mission modules at the following:
Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
Regent's Park College, Cambridge
Cambridge Theological Federation
Bristol Baptist College/Trinity Theological College, Bristol
Spurgeons College, London
Modules are taught in accordance with the requirements of the inviting institution.
We also offer individual support for theological students undertaking rural studies and clergy/ministers sabbatical work.