Each church, parish or chaplaincy is asked to respond to the 12 diocesan transformation goals as outlined in Transforming Church, Transforming Lives by producing a Church Development Plan. This sheet gives the basics for such planning and directs you to further resources.
Step 1: Praying
"Unless The Lord builds the house, the builders labour in vain." Psalm 127:1
The heart of fruitful Christian planning is not to create plans and ask God to bless them, but to seek His plans and then commit to joining in. Any development planning therefore needs to have a prayerful process of listening and interceding as its foundation. Each church will find its own way of doing this but, to help focus on the 12 goals, a range of prayer materials is available at www.cofeguildford.org.uk/transforming/praying
Step 2: Desire
Ask yourselves if, as a church, you share a deep desire to engage fully in God's mission even if God might challenge you or call you down an unexpected path. If you have that desire move into the planning cycle. If you are unsure then spend some time in prayer, teaching and discussion about what the purpose of your church is. Having that shared understanding of why your church exists is really important as you seek to find and join in with God's plan for you and the community you serve. Do not rush this step.
Step 3: Planning cycle
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
The diagram below shows the basic part of the planning cycle. The diocesan parish development & evangelism team (PDE) can provide support and resources to help you, including:
- Health audit tools to help you reflect on your areas of strength and weakness
- Mission accompaniers, trained coaches who will walk with your leadership or PCC to ask questions and help you reflect fruitfully
- Vision development consultants to facilitate a full vision development process to help you hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to you
- Support in running a vision day, see our vision day leaflet for more details
- One-off conversations with a consultant where lengthier engagement is not required
Step 4: Reporting
When you have created a CDP fill in the response form available at www.cofeguildford.org.uk/transforming/planning and send it in along with your full plan to the PDE team. The CDPs will be collated so that parishes can be encouraged by each other and also so that the right support can be offered centrally.
If you already have a plan, great. Please just transfer the key elements onto the response form. There is no need to reinvent it.
As a way of creating consistency we will talk about Church Development Plans (CDPs), but if you have a name which works for you locally like Mission Action Plan (MAP), Parish Development Plan (PDP) or Chaplaincy Development Plan (CDP) then it is fine to keep using it.
In church leadership it can be helpful to have a confidential sounding board from outside the parish, someone who will help us to talk and to clarify our own thoughts.
We have trained a small team of Mission Accompaniers who are available to meet one to one with church leaders up to three or four times for a year, to help you clarify your objectives, opportunities, obstacles and next steps. This might be particularly helpful just after putting together a Church Development Plan, though there are plenty of other situations where such an accompanier can be helpful too.
See the brochure for further details.
Further resources are available from the PDE team or from the diocesan website. Recommended reading includes:
- How to do Mission Action Planning: prayer, process & practice. Ireland & Chew.
ISBN 0281075645 - The go-to text on missional planning in Anglican churches - recently revised & expanded
- Refresh: a Not -So-New Guide to being Church and Doing Life. Moynagh & Peabody.
ISBN 857217653 - A short introduction to reimagining church.
Templates that might help with Church Development Planning
Health audit tools
Health audits can be a really helpful part of the Review phase in the planning cycle. They will help you focus on the key areas that will make the biggest difference. Usually completed by around 30 leaders and PCC members they can provide a balanced view of church life that is not swayed by a few stronger voices.
The PDE team can advise on the following tools and which might suit your situation best.
- Congregational survey: A simple six-question survey we recommend every parish to use which will give you key information about your age profiles, numbers of new people, whether people are coming to faith in your church etc. Completed by the entire congregation. Usually used in conjunction with another health audit tool
- Parish development profile: An in-house tool adapted to the 12 goals which helps you discern both your key priorities and your relative strengths
- Natural church development: A globally respected statistical health audit which measures your strengths in eight key health areas for church life and suggests the areas to work on next. It costs around £250 (discounted through PDE). We recommend that you seek advice from someone experienced in using this tool to help you understand the results fully
- Healthy church: Based on Robert Warren's Healthy Church Handbook, a discussion-based system to help you discern your relative strengths and weaknesses using seven key church health factors
- Angel of the church exercise: A useful and imaginative exercise to help you understand how you currently see your church and your dreams for its future
- From evidence to action: Cards for PCC discussion on key growth issues. We are adding to the FETA suite extra cards that relate specifically to the 12 diocesan goals. They are a simple way to start mission planning type discussions in a PCC that is not used to this kind of planning
For further help contact Steve Cox (as below)