A MAP for the future!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29.11

We are called to progress God’s plan for our church, but are we clear what His plan is and do we have a strategy for progressing it? In scripture, a plan often involved a journey from one place to another.

It is with these words that Bishop David encourages us to follow along the path that all the parishes in our diocese are following as they look to ask searching questions of themselves and to rediscover their sense of mission and purpose. One that fits within today’s world, societies and communities and embraces modern worship styles and needs alongside the traditional.

Every parish is to take up Mission Action Planning and follow the seven stages that will lead us through fellowship, discovery and a clear sense of what we are called to be doing. Each parish has to follow the same process (Review, Prioritise, Plan, Do), but identify its own calling under God. It’s no good adopting someone else’s plan- it might not fit us and it probably won’t come up with the right answers, too. We need to discern what is important about who and where we are. We need to be clear what we do well and what we need help with.

One of the ideas I like is to look at our prayers and to see what we pray for. It could be a surprise to see what it shows us about our priorities as Christians and where faith leads us. With lots of resources available to help us and the chance to get together for fun and discovery, I am hoping that you will want to search out the news we have of this process and to take part in the events that we will be announcing.

I don’t think we can continue to assume we know all about ourselves, so let’s go and check the facts. For example, in one of our parishes I think we have one congregation spread across two churches. I don’t suppose everyone agrees with me, but it might be good to look at why it seems that way to me and whether it can serve us well in the future.

What I am convinced of, is that we can’t do nothing. Really loving God and the fellowship of our church(es) must mean that we want to seize the moment and move on. Please watch out for news of Mission Action planning (MAP) and add this to your prayers as we prepare.

With my love and prayers for you all, Steve.

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