This Time Tomorrow

This is one of the ways to help members of the congregation to live out their live out their faith naturally and openly, in all aspects of their daily lives is to briefly interview them in a Sunday service asking three simple questions:

  1. What will you be doing this time tomorrow?
  2. What are the challenges you will be facing?
  3. In what ways can we all pray for you?

“It certainly creates a buzz during our church service.” says William Cardale.  He is not referring here to a mobile phone vibrating during a Sunday service or the (surprising?!) nest of bees that have taken up residence in the church roof. This buzz is congregation members talking together, sharing what their lives will look like over the coming week.

William is part of Bradfield St George, one church in our Diocese who has been using ‘This Time Tomorrow’ to encourage people to live out their faith Monday to Saturday -  not just on Sundays! Although, this might seem like a daunting task, we have been learning that it doesn’t have to be and small shifts in what we are already doing can make a big difference in enabling faith to blossom in all areas of life. Introducing simple initiatives like This Time Tomorrow can make all the difference.

So how does it work? By simply encouraging conversations about where people will be this time tomorrow during a service. When people share challenges, opportunities and prayer needs of their lives outside of church, faith transcends the boundaries we can unintentionally put on it and becomes something that fills every aspect of life.

We’ve also seen that This Time Tomorrow can help deepen people’s relationships with one another. Sandie Barton says; “I think the best thing about doing This Time Tomorrow in this way is that the shyer and more reticent members of the congregation have been able to be drawn in, and in one or two cases have shared on a much deeper level than has ever happened before.”

This Time Tomorrow can happen in so many ways. Below we hear three simple ideas you can try in your church service.

Interviewing someone up the front and praying for them - “Last week, we interviewed David about his IT company and his life at work. We heard how he recently helped a lady who had been widowed. Her husband was the one who did everything on the computer and so when he died, she didn’t know any of the passwords and was struggling to use it… Now, thanks to David’s help, she is skyping her grandchildren! I loved hearing how David expresses his faith through his work, and it was a great to have an insight into his life outside of church.” The Revd Chris Hood, Old Felixstowe

Writing names on a card - “We asked everyone to write their name on a card, collected them in and randomly gave them out again.  Everyone then had to go and look for the person on their card, find out what they were doing this time tomorrow and promise to pray for them.  That worked well as an introduction to the concept and was fun!” The Revd Canon Sandie Barton, St Mary the Virgin, Barton Mills

Sharing in pairs - “We had a regular slot as part of our intercessions during which we invited people to tell the person next to them what they will be doing this time tomorrow. After they had shared, we asked if anyone would like us to pray for them. Usually, a few people would put their hands up, and we prayed for them. It worked well and led to good conversations and also to us, as a church, being aware of what was going on for people in their daily lives.” The Revd Jutta Brueck, St Thomas, Ipswich

This Time Tomorrow is not just another thing to squeeze into a Sunday service. By sharing what happens in people’s lives throughout the week, we are helping faith to be integrated more deeply. We are also valuing people for aspects of their lives which might otherwise go unnoticed and by doing so enabling deeper engagement, stronger friendships and real joy amongst our congregations.

Sandie says; “Now, if anyone leading the service doesn’t include this time of prayer, we would be stopped from ending the service by someone calling out "We haven't had our time of prayer!"

This Time Tomorrow has certainly gone down well in the churches we’ve heard from. Why not give it a try in yours?