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Developing Rural & Small Church Worship

Training & resources for those (especially lay people) leading or creating worship in small & rural churches

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We are frequently contacted by ministers and lay people alike who need help with worship. Mostly they want resources and materials, but we are also asked for guidance – especially by lay people who have assumed (or been given!) responsibility for leading worship in church.

To help you we have developed a set of Worship Leaders (FAQ’s) and a fully-searchable bank of free worship resources. The resources are suitable for most rural churches and some are specifically designed for leading worship in rural and small contexts. The bank also includes useful training materials and case studies

We hope the resources encourage you to develop your own new and innovative worship material! We love to receive your contributions. If you have any relevant material or examples to share email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Need more information? Find a collection of further resources, ideas & examples related to developing worship in small or rural churches here.

Our worship training material has been largely prepared for the ARC by Revd Canon Nick Wright (Vicar, Diocese of Worcester). The worship resource bank was compiled with substantial help from Revd Canon Glyn Evans (Rural Officer for the Diocese of Oxford).

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INDEX: Worship Leaders' FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. We are members of our congregation and have never done this before! What are we allowed to do?

Q2. Where do we begin?

Q3. What training resources are readily available?

Q4. Where could we find examples of services that others have produced and used?

Q5. How do we decide about the Bible readings to be included in the service?

Q6. How do we go about drafting our own service for a particular occasion?

Q7. We don’t have an authorised ‘preacher’ available; what should/could we do?

Q8. How can we lead the congregation in prayer?

Q9. Where can we find texts and resources for different parts of the service?

Q10. How do we choose hymns and other music?

Q11. What advice do you have about producing a service sheet?

Q12. A service to be projected?

Q13. Should those who lead our service be wearing special clothes/robes?

Q14. How do we approach planning a service which is designed to include children as well as adults?

Q15. Can you help us with finding meaningful ‘actions’ and/or multi-sensory responses for the people in our congregation to make?

Q16. What ideas can you suggest to help us take advantage of the small size of congregation?

Q17. How can we tailor our worship to ensure that everyone is able to engage with it?

Q18. Can we incorporate local community elements (e.g. festivals)? If so, how?

Q19. How can we make best use of the countryside/local context and seasons (e.g. agricultural links)?

Q20. Have you any guidance of how we should approach the actual ‘leading’ of a service?

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