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Related Bible reading(s): Matthew 9.35-10.8(9-23)

Welcome to ROOTS at home for families

ROOTS is a partnership of denominations and other Christian organisations and has been publishing lectionary-based worship resources online and in print since 2002.


You are welcome to copy this material for use in your own resources e.g. printed sheets or web pages including audio/video recordings. If you do so, please include this acknowledgement to ROOTS:
© ROOTS for Churches Ltd ( 2002-2020.
Reproduced with permission.

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NEW! The world ablaze:
Prayers for difficult times



There are lots of things which might make us feel uncomfortable in this passage as Jesus calls and commissions his disciples in a challenging situation. But despite the challenge, it is good news that they are sent out to share. While we may not be able to ‘go out’ in the same way there are many ways that we can share the good news with others. Use your time of worship to inspire you about how you might do this in a new way.

See Bible notes for more information on the passages for today.



Use this prayer as you begin your time of worship together. Nominate a leader or all join in together.


Encourage everyone to move in different ways e.g. run, hop, skip around the room. Each time everyone returns to the start, ask them to shoutThe kingdom of God is near.

Where is the kingdom of God?
The kingdom of God is near.

You may wish to play the following song during this time of prayer: Get up and dance, Hillsong Kids on Jesus is my superhero



Share the Bible story using the idea below to help you explore it together.


Bible story

Open the Bible at Matthew 9.35–10.8,(9-23): Jesus’ friends go out to share all that he has taught them with the world.

You don’t need that! 

Display six large boxes. Ask for a volunteer and pile all the boxes into their arms. Explain that in today’s Gospel reading, Jesus sends the disciples out to tell people about him. Ask everyone: how might they prepare for this task?

Read the Bible passage and, when you get to ‘you won’t need gold...’, take one of the boxes away. Continue to read what they won’t need, removing a box with each item. When you get to the end of the story, remind everyone that you don’t need anything to go out on Jesus’ mission; instead, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to help us.

Jesus gathered his twelve disciples and sent them out. He gave them these instructions:

‘Don’t go to Gentile or Samaritan towns. Instead go to the people of Israel, for they are like a flock of lost sheep. Tell people the good news about the kingdom of heaven. Cure the sick, raise the dead, heal those
with skin diseases, send out demons. You have been given all this freely, for no payment. Now you must help others without being paid.’

Jesus reassured them, ‘You won’t need gold or silver; don’t take a travelling bag or an extra shirt; don’t take sandals or a walking stick. When you go into a town, find out who the good people are and stay with them until you are ready to leave. If you enter a home, bless it with your peace, but if it is not worthy, take the blessing back. If someone doesn’t welcome you or they won’t listen, leave at once, shaking the dust from your feet.

‘I am sending you out like sheep into a pack of wolves,’ he said, ‘so you need to be as wise as a snake and as innocent as a dove. Because of me people will hand you over to those in power and have you beaten. You will be dragged before kings and leaders. But if this happens, don’t worry about what to say – you will be given the words at the time. It will be God’s Spirit speaking.

‘Because of me there will be unrest in families,’ Jesus said sadly. ‘Brothers will turn against brothers. Fathers will turn against children. Children will turn against parents. Many will be hated because of me. But if you remain with me until the end you will be saved. If they persecute you in one town, run to the next. I promise that before you have been to all the towns of Israel, the Son of Man will come.’


Gentile the name Jews give to non-Jews; Samaritan a person who lived in Samaria and worshipped God differently from Jews. Jews and Samaritans hated each other; demons spiritual forces that trouble people – could be interpreted as mental illness; Son of Man a title from the Old Testament Book of Daniel, used by Jesus to describe himself.



Spend time reflecting on the Bible passage, using the questions below as appropriate.

Talk together with children

  • What was Jesus sending the disciples out to do?
  • Have you ever had to do something that was very hard or that tested you?
  • Jesus sent the disciples out to do his work without getting paid for it. What sort of things do volunteers do today?


Talk together with young people

  • What have the disciples experienced and seen Jesus do?
  • What is important about what Jesus said and did before he sent the disciples out?
  • Why was it vital to the future Church that Jesus sent the disciples out? How does this affect our Christian life today?


Activities, songs and prayers

Choose from the activities below and do any or all of them in any order you wish. Some are designed for younger children and some for young people. However we hope using a mix will work for any ages in your household.



Paint blowing

Give each person a piece of thin card, some watered-down poster paint and a paper straw. Ask everyone to place some paint at the base of the card and then blow the paint through the straw. Talk about the way the paint spreads out, like the disciples being sent out, and how the air is like the Holy Spirit.



Name plaque

Write each person’s name in large bubble letters on a sheet of card. Provide a range of craft materials and encourage them to decorate their name. Use these in the prayer later.



Design a unique symbol of your own calling

You will need: A4 paper, magazines/newspapers, scissors, glue, pens.

  • Pre-prepare each piece of paper by writing across the top, ‘I am called by Jesus, or ask everyone to do this before you begin.
  • Encourage everyone to make a collage about themselves by cutting pictures and words out of the magazines/newspapers. This can include: hobbies, favourite music or pop groups, favourite food, favourite TV programmes, likes and dislikes, family, hopes and dreams. Ask them to be as creative as possible and include their name somewhere in the collage.
  • If any children would like to, they could share what they have done with the group.



Spend some quiet time reflecting on the passage, as well as what you have been doing in the activities you chose.


Sheep craziness

Watch a clip of herding sheep. Discuss  how hard it must be to get this effect. Have they any experience of herding sheep? Or does this remind them of another scenario that is like trying to round up sheep e.g. have they ever taken a group of small children on a walk? What are the problems faced? What dangers do you have to think about?


Shepherd qualities

Print out a list of characteristics (below). Scatter the phrases around your space. Ask everyone to search out the words and gather them together. Encourage them to sort the words, thinking about ‘What makes a good shepherd?’ Place the words under three headings: ‘Needs to be’, ‘Not needed’, ‘Can’t be’.

Discuss the decisions the group have made. Were there any that they couldn’t agree on?

Character traits  
good at maths
a good friend
good communicator
likes animals
scared of the dark
likes a daily shower
sensitive hands



Finish your time of worship by praying together in any way you choose (there are more prayers on our Prayers page).


Name and pray

Give everyone their name plaque from the Create activity above. Invite them to lay their name plaque down as you pray: God wants each of us to be his disciples. He calls…(name each person as they lay their name plaque down). Continue until everyone has been prayed forConclude by saying Amen together.

As you go, proclaim the good news:
Jesus Christ is Lord,
the kingdom of God is near. Amen.


You may wish to use the additional resources below to worship together and/or the activity sheets for children.


Sing and listen

Preview songs on YouTube, buy online and download.

This little light of mine
Supernatural, Hillsong Kids on Supernatural
Life song, Casting crowns on Lifesong

My heart is yours, Kristian Stanfill on Take it all
Send me, Planetshakers on Phenomena

Fearless, Newsboys on United (deluxe) 
Every little thing, feat. Andy Mineo, Hillsong Young & Free on Every little thing 
Live out loud, Steven Curtis Chapman on Re:creation

See also Same Boat @ HOME


Live your faith

Every time you go through a doorway this week, think about being sent out by Jesus to share the good news – who could you share some good news with?


Activity Sheets

(Links to the PDFs for these can also be found at the end of the page.)

Activity Sheet English


Colouring Sheet English


Activity Sheet Welsh


Colouring Sheet Welsh



Notes on the Bible story for parents and carers

  • The backdrop to this scene is Jesus’ miracles of healing. The disciples have experienced these incredible events. Jesus sends them out to mirror his actions: to heal and preach. In doing this, he also commissions them: giving them authority over unclean spirits to cast them out, and to cure every disease and sickness.
  • Jesus warns of the dangers that the disciples face, likening it to sheep facing wolves. But he assures them that they are to stand firm in the Father’s protection and will be given the words to say from the Holy Spirit.
  • Being God’s people can be pictured in various ways. Each shows us something about our relationship with God and each other – and the obligations that come with that identity. The disciples were called to offer the good news of God’s love to all. Jesus describes the people they will serve as ‘lost sheep’. Psalm 100 also describes ‘his people’ as ‘sheep’. These passages speak of the people of God as sheep, needing tending and guiding. But with a calling to teach and proclaim to others the good news of God.
  • As Christians we are called to mirror Jesus and the disciples, to ‘Go out’ into the world. But this passage reminds us that we don’t do that in our own strength. When we do not have the words to say, the same Spirit of the Father that spoke to the disciples can speak to and through us.
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