Background

“Where there is no vision, the people will perish.”    Proverbs 29. 18


Purpose

To agree priorities for activity over the next three to five years for St John the Baptist, Pinner.  A Mission Action Plan (MAP) is a means of ensuring the life and work of our church is:

• Purposeful – so that we are doing the things we really believe we should be doing

• Developing – so that we are increasingly doing these things better, and learning from how we do them

• Focused – so that we are not distracted by things we have agreed are a lower priority

The MAP is a living document, and can be amended in the light of agreed changes in priority; and it will be reviewed, to see whether the objectives have been achieved.  The process of writing the plan, and of reflecting and praying as it is prepared and consulted on, may very well be at least as valuable to the community as the actual plan, at least in the early stages.

We have spent, and will continue to spend, a good deal of our resources both of finance and of energy on restoring our building.  That has been very successful indeed, and has brought the whole community together in a way that it is important to build on.  Now is therefore the perfect time to think also about how we continue to grow as a community (but not just, or even mostly, about numbers – grow in confidence, creativity and compassion (Capital Vision 2020)) now that we have a secure building from which to grow.  This is just as much a part of our stewardship of PPC as the restoration work.


Process

1. Prepare the ground.  We need to tell people what we’re going to do, and define terms. 

What is mission?  Finding out what God’s doing, and joining in.  References to the Marks of Mission – if we can categorise what we’re doing under those headings, we’ll be OK.  Means working out what we do, and who will do it, and how we’ll resource it (in terms of time and money).

We need to be clear on objectives.  This is not about growth in terms of attendance at services, although of course we would not be averse to that.  But there are all sorts of growth, and we are choosing to be part of the Capital Vision 2020 agenda which parishes across the Diocese of London are working towards in the next 6 years:

• growth in confidence – knowledge of and relationship with God
(Heb 5. 11 – 6. 3); 
• growth in creativity – fellowship and how we extend that
(Rom 12. 1 – 13);
• growth in compassion – service  to others (Mark 4.1 – 20).

We need to aspire to all of these.  However, we need also to acknowledge  our tradition, and establish the limits of the exercise.  We shall not move away from our tradition as an essentially sacramental Eucharistic community; and we shall not lose our musical tradition.

We need a series of articles for the Review, a clear timetable, and a clear set of outcomes.  I would like to ask preachers actively to seek opportunities for referencing the process.

We have set up a small MAP Steering Group with objectives:

• ideas – generate new ones and also sense test existing ones
• provide an understanding of background and longer term history – where we’re coming from, and a range of perspectives
• assist with communication within congregation; possibly lobbying if people feel comfortable with that
• involvement with analysis of the initial consultation returns
• involvement with the congregational meeting – eg facilitating tables

and also prayer group, to keep the process grounded in prayer.

PCC will be consulted on the initial process, be kept informed of the results of the initial consultation, and will approve the final plan before it is launched.

We also need to ensure that the background and context material is available and understood – Marks of Mission, Healthy Churches, Believing and Belonging, Capital Vision 2020, data on PPC attendance and occasional offices etc.  Can we put some of that on the website?  People may not pick it up immediately, but would it be good to have a MAP resource centre?

And be clear that we’re not coming to this as a blank piece of paper – PPC is a very active church, there is much work for the Kingdom already going on, and considerable and sacrificial giving of time and talents.  The MAP is not necessarily about doing more, but perhaps doing some things a little differently, or perhaps stopping doing some things so that we can do others better.

 

2. Consult

Questionnaire sent to congregation, but also efforts made to involve the wider community.  My recommendation at this stage is that it should be simple and generic.

• What is the church for?  “The aim of this church is…”
• What if anything do you value from it?
• What are we good at?
• What could we do better?

There are risks attached to this, in terms of allowing over-general or unhelpful responses, but I prefer that to the risk of bogging people down at this stage, or limiting their vision by over-specific questions.

Also we would like to involve the younger people in consultation on the street with video cameras, ideally to put together a montage that we could play for the congregational meeting (maybe also include some congregational video responses).  There will need though to be ample opportunities for people to make anonymous written responses, particularly if they do not wish to be recorded.

PCC need to be clear on what and when we will be consulting them, and approve that process and timetable.

 

3. Analyse

MAP SG to analyse the responses and brigade data for presentation to the congregation as a whole.  Difficult to know exactly how this will work until we know what the responses are, but should aim to use an existing structure, eg 5 Marks of Mission.

 

4. Check

At least one congregational meeting – the intention is to hold it after a combined service, like the APCM, on 20 October.  May possibly need more than one meeting depending on outputs and anticipated resistance, but are planning for one at this stage.

The purpose of the congregational meeting is to get together to share the results of the consultation, to check that people recognise the emerging vision, and to ask further questions as necessary.  Focus of the meeting(s) is determined by the outcomes of the initial consultation/questionnaire, but it might be good to have people there to give context – eg a leader on London 2020, someone locally who’s doing something relevant to the sorts of suggestions being made.

The congregation will be presented with digested material, classified under headings, with some suggestions as to next steps (otherwise we look like they’re waiting to be told what to do).  The congregation will also be invited (anonymously, with slips of paper in a box if they wish) to suggest things that are no longer priorities in the light of new commitments, and which we might therefore stop doing or do differently.

This will be a good opportunity also to celebrate what we do well, and make sure we build on that.

 

5. Write

MAP SG then meet to write and/or approve the MAP.  The Plan will have SMART objectives, clearly defined, with people (ideally named, but at least an idea of people hours) and financial resources needed clearly identified.  Needs to be a manageable number as immediate priorities, but other ideas and plans not lost.

 

6. Approval of the MAP and Launch

MAP submitted to the PCC for final approval.  The MAP SG will need to develop a plan for handling the people whose ideas are not going to be taken forward in the first tranche; and how we will identify people for taking things forward who aren’t just the usual suspects.  If people do not come forward to lead on areas that the community has agreed to be a priority, those areas cannot be deemed really to be a corporate priority, and will have to be dropped, and the MAP revised.  For avoidance of doubt, the MAP SG will not be responsible for delivering the MAP activity, just for checking that progress is being made.

Then launch to congregation mid-December.

 

7. Continue to communicate

Report back to the congregation and as widely as we can how progress is being made.  Needs to be a living document, not just part of the APCM/PCC process. 

 

Kate Blake

 

Further Background Information

In developing the Mission Action Plan, we are taking account of the context of the church in the Diocese of London and nationally. The documents below will inform our thinking.

Seven marks of a healthy church

1.  Energized by faith rather than just keeping things going or trying to survive

• worship and sacramental life: moves people to experience God’s love
• motivation: energy comes from a desire to serve God and one another
• engaging with Scripture: in creative ways connect with life
• nurtures faith in Christ: helping people to grow in, and share, their faith.

2.  Outward-looking focus with a 'whole life' rather than a 'church life' concern

• deeply rooted in the local community, working in partnership with other denominations, faiths, secular groups and networks 
• passionate and prophetic about justice and peace, locally and globally
• makes connections between faith and daily living
• responds to human need by loving service


3.  Seeks to find out what God wants, discerning the Spirit’s leaning rather than trying to please everyone

• vocation: seeks to explore what God wants it to be and do
• vision: develops and communicates a shared sense of where it is going
• mission priorities: consciously sets immediate and long-term goals
• able to call for, and make, sacrifices, personal and corporate, in bringing about the above and living out the faith.

4.  Faces the cost of change and growth rather than resisting change and avoiding failure

• while embracing the past, it dares to take on new ways of doing things
• takes risks: and admits when things are not working, and learns from experience
• crises:  responds creatively to challenges that face the church and community
• positive experiences of change: however small, are affirmed and built on.

5.    Operates as a community rather than functioning as a club or religious organisation

• Relationships: are nurtured, often in small groups, so people feel accepted and are helped to grow in faith and service
• leadership: lay and ordained work as a team to develop locally appropriate expressions of all
• seven marks of a healthy church
• lay ministry: the different gifts, experiences and faith journeys of all are valued and given expression in and beyond the life of the church.

6. Makes room for all being inclusive rather than exclusive.

• welcome: works to include newcomers into the life of the church
• children and young people: are helped to belong, contribute and be nurtured in their faith
• enquirers are encouraged to explore and experience faith in Christ
• diversities: different social and ethnic backgrounds, mental and physical abilities, and ages, are seen as a strength.

7. Does a few things and do them well focused rather than frenetic.

• does the basics well: especially public worship, pastoral care, stewardship and administration
• occasional offices: make sense of life and communicate faith
• being good news as a church in its attitudes and ways of working
• enjoys what it does and is relaxed about what is not being done


The Five Marks of Mission of the Worldwide Anglican Communion

1. To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom

2. To teach, baptise and nurture new believers

3. To respond to human need by loving service

4. To seek to transform unjust structures of society

5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth


Capital Vision 2020

1. Be informed

Reflect on the London (Pinner) we live in now.

2. Be encouraged

Celebrate and thank God for the Church in London and the growth and faithfulness we have experienced.

3. Be challenged

a. What is the Spirit saying to us in the life of London?

What headline would from 2020 would you like to see about the church in Pinner/London/England?

b. Where does the Church invest effort and resources at present?

c. In what ways do we need to rethink and act differently?

4. Be involved


The purpose is to develop a church community that is

• Confident in speaking and living the Gospel of Jesus Christ
• Compassionate in serving communities in the love of God the Father
• Creative in reaching new people and places with the good news in the power of the Spirit



Mission-Shaped Church

1. A missionary church is focused on God the Trinity

2. A missionary church is incarnational

3. A missionary church is transformational

4. A missionary church makes new disciples

5. A missionary church is relational

  

 

Website : beachshore