Presence: in what ways is God calling you to your community?

Every church has a 'charism' - a gift to offer its community. There may be a particular passion the church has: for example, for creative worship; for ministry to children and families; for challenging injustice. There may be a missional activity already taking place that is fruitful, or a vision for such an activity, that needs to be taken into account when considering a merger. The church building may be in an area that is strategically significant, such as a place where new housing is planned, or an area of outstanding natural beauty. Alternatively, the building may be a valuable asset to fund mission elsewhere in the circuit. Merging with another church could enable resources to be shared in such a way as to make a current activity even more fruitful, to make a vision become a reality, or to seize a strategic opportunity. 

Mission planning (or 'mission action planning') is a process that enables a circuit to discern mission priorities so that any merger serves the mission to which God has called them. Deciding what to do with church buildings is part of that process, but should not be the main focus, and certainly not the starting point. Once you have discerned the mission to which God is calling you, then you will know what buildings may be needed.

Guiding principles:

Unlimited grace.

Every individual and every church is loved and valued by God. No church is to be labelled as ‘failing’ and no individual or group is to be blamed or shamed. A future with hope is promised for all God’s people.

Unapologetic mission focus.

The purpose of the church is to be Good News to the world God loves. Where a church lacks the energy, the people, the desire or the resources to engage in God’s mission, something needs to change. In some cases, a church's part in that hopeful future is to offer its resources for mission elsewhere.

On these pages you will find:

  • Guidance for circuit mission planning
  • A simple process for conducting a church community audit
  • An overview of various creative possibilities for the use of church buildings  
  • Two worked examples of different models of merger: a 'hub church' model and a 'sectional' model