Haystack Study V. God’s Call: Reclaimed

Haystack Study V. God’s Call: Reclaimed

V. God’s Call: Reclaimed

Supplies: Newsprint pad, markers, pencils or pens, writing paper.

Begin this last session with an update of what happened to those young people who prayed beside a haystack in 1806. 

The Haystack Event wasn’t over when the storm ended.  Two years later “The Brethren” convinced the General Association of Congregational Ministers of Massachusetts to form the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.  In February 1812, shortly after a commissioning service in the Salem Tabernacle, Rev. and Mrs. Adoniram Judson, Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Newell, Rev. and Mrs. Samuel Nott, Rev. Gordon Hall, and Rev. Luther Rice sailed to Calcutta, India.  None of the Williams College students who prayed beside the haystack sailed on that ship.  God called them to other ministries. (10 minutes)

  • Samuel Mills engaged in mission work in the Ohio and Mississippi Valleys, in the southwest US, and in New Orleans.  He influenced the founding of the American Bible Society.  He died after a short term mission trip to Africa.
  • James Richards left America in 1815 and served as a missionary in India until his death seven years later.
  • Francis Robbins engaged in mission work in New Hampshire and later served a church in Connecticut, his home state.
  • Harvey Loomis found his domestic mission field in the state of Maine.
  • Byram Green, after a short career as preacher, served in the New York government and the US Congress.

Invite the group to form triads to reflect upon these questions:

            How do we measure success or failure in regard to God’s call?
            What would be your response if your teenager or partner or parent said
                  he or she felt called by God?
            How do we support people who experience a sense of call in their lives? 
            (30 mins.)

Reconvene the group to share their responses.  (15 minutes)

Guided meditation: Invite folks to close their eyes and to reflect upon the Haystack Story.  Encourage them to hear God calling them to new places of service or ministry. 

“Not everyone is going to serve in Sri Lanka or Turkey . . . but are there places where their gifts might be used to build up the realm of God . . . Christ is served through a local food bank . . . a Habitat for Humanity Build . . . a mentoring program for youth . . . visits to a nursing home or prison . . . justice-making in city hall . . . CROP Walk for Hunger . . . child sponsorship . . .”

Ask them in continued silence to complete this sentence: God is calling me to . . .

End the time by writing down their response and if they want, sharing their words with the entire group. (25 minutes)  

Close with a prayer thanking God for the chance to be God’s servant people here at home and around the world.          

I.  Introduction
II.  Hearing the Call: Holy Interruptions
III. God’s Call: Resistance 
IV. Mission Today: The Haystack Revisited
V.  God’s Call:  Reclaimed Today