Session 1 – Community
Session 1 – Community
In this study we explore our understanding of the church and the prophetic voice.

Key Text: Luke 4:16-21

In this study we explore our understanding of the church and the prophetic voice.

Getting started

What is your understanding of ‘the prophetic voice’ from your reading
of the scriptures? You might like to consider the difference between
‘foretelling’ and ‘telling forth’. Share an example.

Story from the church of South India

The Revd Asir Ebenezer, a director within the diaconal wing of the Church of South India (CSI), explains: ‘The Church of South India is called to be a prophetic public witness in our nation, towns and villages. This is an expression of Christian faith and commitment, and building the capacities
of our pastors is a vital part of this.’
To help support this mission, CSI set up the Institute of Pastoral Management (IPM) which is helping church leaders to minister to a society undergoing constant change, in which traditions are being challenged and the poverty gap is increasing.
After taking part in IPM training, the Revd Dr Bethel Victor told USPG:
‘This programme has been extremely useful for my ministry among four
village congregations. I benefited in particular from studying human resource management, which emphasised that local congregations have energies, talents and capacities. The training showed me how to make the most of these human talents.’
She continued: ‘I am based in Nagaram, a remote village in Karimnagar
Diocese. The congregation consists of 40 families. Their ambition for a long
time was to build a church. Construction work began but stopped after about eight months due to a lack of money. It was at this point that I attended the IPM training.
‘After the training, I shared my learning. I tried to inspire an inquisitive
attitude and motivate the congregation to not only look for outside help, but also to look at themselves and at their own capacity. This approach yielded results.
‘Building work recommenced with the whole congregation – men, women
and children – doing their part so that, despite a lack of money, we were
able to build the church ourselves. The congregation offered their labour
wholeheartedly and free of charge.
‘Our beautiful new church building was finally dedicated. We had all
experienced the joy of working together for God’s mission.


Bible reading: Luke 4:16-21

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the
synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and
found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down.
The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him.
Then he began to say to them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in
your hearing.”



These prayers have been designed for one person in the group to lead, speaking slowly and pausing between phrases to give time for the words to sink in. We invite you to abide in God’s presence.

Take a moment to settle.
Adjust your posture so that you feel relaxed but alert.
Close your eyes if you feel comfortable to do so.
Give yourself permission to be still and open to God’s presence.
Try to let go of the ‘chattering mind’ – it may help to focus your attention on your breath and the sensation of air flowing in and out of your nostrils – knowing God is with you.

Know that your life is in God and God’s life is in you.
Continue to abide in God’s presence.
Know in your heart that you are loved and accepted by God exactly as you are.
God understands your hopes and your struggles – and delights in you.

Be aware that God’s love and acceptance is available for all people.
Give yourself permission to become a vessel for God’s love to flow through you.
Allow this radical love to flow through you.
Know that this love is for you and for all people:

Spend a moment knowing that God’s love is radical because it is extended to all people.

Spoken together:
Holy God, we thank you for your prophetic voice,
bringing good news, release, freedom and proclamation
in word and action. Draw us daily closer to your love
that we may faithfully respond to and live out your prophetic will.