Mission Action Planning
Mission Action Planning (MAP) might sound like another dreaded form-filling exercise, but many parishes have found it to be “a remarkable strategic tool helping them grow in faith, in numbers and in service to their community”.
At a parish meeting last September Neil Evans, the Diocesan Director of Training and Development, introduced us to the idea, explaining that MAP is essentially a process through which we seek to discern God’s activity in our parish and how we are supporting or impeding it. MAP, then, isn’t about ‘planning to have a mission’, but identifying and developing our own part in the continuing mission of the greater church of which we are but a small, local part.
So how do we begin? First of all it should be an activity that has the widest possible involvement across our congregation - which is why we invite everyone to a meeting in church on Sunday 17 April at 4pm.
We should begin simply by ‘describing’ and ‘exploring’. The Diocesan guidelines suggests we start by working on a ‘Parish Profile’, a ‘History Audit’ and a ‘Community Audit’: a description of our church today (styles of worship; the people who come; resources; activities within the church), an exploration of the themes that have shaped our church and congregation over time, and a profile of our neighbourhood and its population, local organisations and amenities (the Diocese provides census data to help us do that).
The clearer the picture we produce the easier it will be at a subsequent meeting to move on to an ‘envisioning’ exercise in which we think about new ideas and ventures and test them against what is realistically possible.
Eventually we will try to produce a Mission Action Plan, as the Diocese calls it: “an organic document, expressing our church’s DNA; a working tool that should also grow and change as our work for the Kingdom in our particular locale develops”.
At our first meeting I hope we can find a few volunteers to meet between congregational sessions and help us move through the MAP process.
You can read more about Mission Action Planning at http://www.london.anglican.org/kb/mission-action-planning
We also have paper copies of this and leaflets about working on the Parish Profile and History Audit.