Saturday, August 30, 2014

More on Mission Action Planning

Last month I outlined starting a the process of Mission Action Planning. This month we continue with the next part of the process, which after putting together a parish profile and a community audit we need to consider the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the Parish. These three together will give us a pretty good idea of the church and its patch, the area it works. We will also use the data gleaned from “Everybody Welcome” course we did last year.

The next task we need to do is to come up with new ideas and ventures. We need to be bold – and not to worry about practicalities at this stage. Since we did “Everybody Welcome” many really good ideas have already been proposed, we just need to get them written down!

With a list of ideas, how many are possible and in what time scale? What do we need to make the ideas work?  So we consider what people and skills will be needed to accomplish your objectives. We may need to partner with someone - we do this already with Pioneer Social Enterprise, the two parishes working together but are there any other local partners that need to be involved? Who in the church community might take the lead on some of the projects? What else might be needed?

We may have a long list of ideas - so we need to prioritise them. A good way to do this is to divide our ideas into three categories – ‘Quick Wins’: things that can be introduced and make an impact quickly, ‘Medium range’: things that will require preparation. ‘Long range’: things which will need an investment of significant time and resources.

Now the trick with all these grand plans is making sure they happen so they need to pass the SMART checklist - Specific and Stretching, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Realistic as well as Time bound and Timely.

Deep breath -  we will have a plan by this stage - in fact we will have a Mission Action Plan! The problem with great plans is they often don’t become a reality so we need to turn it into a living document. One that we discuss at every PCC and review the objectives. 

Want to help?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mission Action Planning? What's that?

Mission Action Planning is something you may have heard me talk about in a few sermons and it is something all parishes need to do. So What is Mission Action Planning?

Mission Action Planning is a key tool that can help deliver the Sheffield Diocesan Vision and Strategies. Each parish will need to find its own way of growing the body and making disciples in the specific contexts of their communities. Mission Action Planning offers an opportunity to see things from new perspectives, to discover new ways of doing things and to learn from each other as we travel together.

Mission Action Planning helps parishes to develop a vision of who we are and where we are going. The process enables us to explore what we are good at, what challenges we face, what opportunities God is laying before us and are specific to our area.

Mission Action Planning then helps us to put together specific and realistic plans for how we will develop our work and enable us to grow both spiritually and numerically. The process of Mission Action Planning encourages each church community to consider their purpose, gifts, strengths and weaknesses as well as any opportunities and threats in their life together and use this information to develop a vision and plan for the future, and hopefully plan for growth in faith, in understanding, in resources, in new members, in engagement with the communities we are called to serve.

There is no single ‘correct’ way to do this, whatever route is followed the plan that is produced at the end of the process should be a flexible working tool, helping Christian communities to develop their lives together, focusing effort and resources effectively and encouraging us to stop doing those things which are hindering our building of the kingdom of God.

Where do we start?
Well over the years as a parish, we have gathered a lot of the information we need, it is a case of pulling it all together and reflecting upon what we have done, what we need to do next. Other dioceses who have been using the the process for a number of years already have found it useful to start with making a Parish Profile. This profile describes as many aspects of our parish as possible such as: styles of worship; a profile of the people who come; church resources; activities within the church. The other useful data to gather can be pulled together under the heading of community audit. For example, we compile a profile of our neighbourhoods. include information about local organisations and amenities. Census data is a good source of information on the population. 

This is only the start of the process and a key is that everyone gets involved so as information is gathered it will shared for people to comment on. There will be a file in church with the information in as it is produced, so please have your say. Got any ideas? Please share them!

Next month I will talk about some of the other task we will need to do.