Developing a Mission Action Plan is a tool that helps a parish or mission base develop their focus for ministry. Traditionally, in Anglican contexts, the role of the parish is to care for the cure of soul within its region. In the diocese, we continue to hold this as a priority. The question comes in how that care is exercised or lived out. Depending on the community or neighbourhood of the parish, this will look very different across the province.
At the November 2019 Diocesan Synod, a motion was passed asking for all parishes to take some time to discern and plan for their mission action plan (considering the next 2-5years).
Prayer and discernment must be at the forefront of developing your parish's MAP - otherwise, it is nothing more than a checklist of to-do's that does not breathe life into your people. As a diocese with a priority on missional formation, we believe that this can be best done through action and reflection. Jesus modelled this with the disciples - engaging with people, inviting them into a personal relationship with God, doing ministry together and reflecting on what took place (see Luke 7-10).
As we develop our own Mission Action Plan, we must consider this same principle for our own growth as missional disciples – who make other missional disciples. The first two essential steps are:
- Remember that a MAP is to develop missional disciples who want to impact their neighbourhoods and communities.
- Begin with prayer! Make it a focus of prayer regularly at worship gatherings - perhaps even calling together a specific group to be praying for discernment. Talk about it - lift the veil and talk about its importance. We need to keep praying individually and corporately. Any discernment that does not start with us on our knees suggests we think we can do this in our own strength, without waiting on the God who calls us out in Mission.
Below are some resources and tools to help parishes develop their own MAP. Completed MAPs should be submitted to the Synod Office, through the Parish Development Officer. For help or questions, please contact Shawn Branch.
- Neighbourhood Assessment Tool (prepared and shared by CBAC)
- Leading Out of Crisis (speak with Shawn about this resource)
- Joining God: Listen Together (speak with Shawn about this resource)
- A Missional Church
- The SMART Tool
- Grow Tool
- A Healthy Church
- Writing Your MAP
- "How to do Mission Action Planning" by Chew & Ireland (book)
"In the same way the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them little Christs. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, even the Bible itself, are simply a waste of time. God became Man for no other purpose. It is even doubtful, you know, whether the whole universe was created for any other purpose." - C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)