‘…for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfil his good purpose.’ Philippians 2:13

When reaching this Step, you should now have a strong foundation on which to make decisions about the project through information which includes the following:

  • The option(s) for direction(s) to take;
  • Professional designs to give reality to your vision and mission;
  • Draft budgets for what it will cost to achieve your vision and mission;
  • Draft Project Plan which includes the information gathered from the mission plan, the church property plan and the community audit and that provides delivery objectives, programme and sustainability plans;
  • Draft Fundraising Plan, with list of potential funding sources for the project costs.

This is a very important ‘gateway’ Step, where through reviewing the information you are able to measure what is realistically possible and whether it will successfully allow you to deliver your Vision and your Mission Plan.  This is a period for reflection and then making decisions, but do this in a careful and prayerful way with broad and thoughtful discussion and allowing decisions to be made in a timely manner:

  • Allow for a Review of what you have found out so far at this point on your journey;
  • Allow time to Reflect on where you have travelled and which direction you might take now;
  • Allow time for Prayer to ensure that you are still following God’s will and the mission is true;
  • Have open and honest discussions, bringing in additional skills and knowledge from Circuit, District or Connexional as required to ensure a balanced reflection where every voice has an opportunity to be heard.

During this step, you will make key decisions whether or not you have the right direction and the right resources to continue with the project.  It is quite acceptable to decide at this point to change direction or perhaps not progress at all.

As part of the process, you may need to select and prioritise from what you would like to do against what you will be able to do.  You may need to decide to look at the project in phases, which would balance your financial and human capacity with your ideas and marry the two together.

By the end of this Step, you should be able to say with confidence that, “we’ve looked at doing, this, this and this, but decided that our solution is the best solution to this problem because…”

One way of coming to adecision would be to organise a meeting of the Development Team and others if needed and create a table with the following headings:





If you have more than one idea, work through each heading for each idea.  As well, answer the following questions, which will also help with any grant funding applications:

  • Why is the preferred solution the best solution for this problem?
  • Why are you the best group to deliver this project?
  • What would happen if the project didn’t go ahead?
  • Have you assessed all of the options?
  • Are there any issues that need to be resolved?
  • Is the project sustainable?
  • Are the fundraising targets realistic?
  • Who would be the potential project leader and/or team?

Be specific with your answers. Know exactly why your solution is better than all of the other ideas. Be clear as to who is the best group to deliver this project.

As well, when considering the viability of a project, here are the 5 most common factors for success.  It would worth thinking through how the project rates against these criteria. 

  1. Agreed clear goals and success criteria;
  2. Support of church, community, funders, circuit and/or district;
  3. Realistic plans;
  4. Effective consultation with stakeholders, users and consumers;
  5. Competent, motivated team.

Bear in mind that you don’t necessarily have to do it all in one phase. It may be more cost-effective and practical to break a large project down into stages, but it is important to understand and maintain the bigger strategic picture to avoid having to redo work later on. 

There are 3 supplementary pathways that may be relevant for the project and each pathway incorporate specific links, guidance and considerations for these types of projects.  The pathways are designed to be worked through methodically and and have been divided into bitesize steps.  Thus, it is recommended that with this step, you begin with Step 4 of the core pathway followed by Step 4 of a supplementary pathway, as dictated by the parameters of the project.  

Click below to view the supplementary guidance for Step 4 of each pathway.  

Step 4 Conservation & Listed Pathway 

Step 4 Net Zero Carbon Pathway

Step 4 Partnerships  Pathway  

Click here to move back to Step 3

Click here to move forward to Step 5 

1. What if we decide this is not the best solution?

It’s not the end of the world

If, while going through this Step, you realise that you have not actually identified the best solution to your problem, do not to be disheartened. In fact, sometimes ‘no or not yet’ can be a positive decision.  That is, it is a good thing that:

  • this has been identified now, and not after you have spent time and money getting detailed plans drawn up or completing grant application forms.
  • you haven’t wasted any more of your time progressing with a solution that may not have worked or met your mission plans.
  • you haven’t had to give the community disheartening news when you have developed relationships based on specific ideas which then change, or a grant funder has rejected your application.
  • none of your work undertaking community consultation or the establishment of your community group has been wasted. You may still identify a more suitable solution to your problem.
  • all of your preparatory works in establishing your community group, or the partnerships you have built, are still valid and important. Your new solution may still use this work.
  • you can better explain to the local community why you selected the solution you did when you next come to inform it about your progress. Similarly, it will strengthen any information you provide to funding bodies

At this point, if the church is under-used, selling could be the best option to further our mission. This is not a failure but a recognition that the world evolves, and we need to respond in new ways for the time we are in. Our priority will always be to make the best use of our property.

When all other opportunities to use our buildings for mission have been explored and exhausted, the redundancy of one of our buildings should be embraced as the closure of a chapter of a Methodist story faithfully told. We will ensure the memory of that story is preserved and that the next chapter is commenced in ways that remain faithful to the story so far, and to the Gospel.  Please review the Guidance for Church Closures

If a church is to be sold, please review TMCP’s Guidance & Templates for QSR’s and the Flowchart for Streamlining Transactions for more information.    

If the church decides not to continue with the project and if the project was logged on the Consents website, please update the project status as 'Abandoned.'   

2. How to Continue with the Proposal

Project Approval

If the decision is made to continue with the project, this is the first decision gateway.  Church Council will then need to formally approve this including spending to identify and outline the purpose of the project for initial investigation.  The Church Council should be presented with all the information, which could include:

  1. A summary of the decision process.
  2. An outline of all the options explored, with an explanation of the benefits, drawbacks and summary.
  3. An outline of the projected costs and fundraising targets as well as any restrictions and/or drawbacks.
  4. A summary which explains how the decision was made to recommend one delivery route.

If the project should be uploaded to the Consents website at this point (if it not already done).  To view the relevant Standing Orders about Consent, please refer to CPD Part 9 for the details regarding requirements for property. 

If the Managing Trustees (Church Council) have given their approval, then the decision can logged at this point.  As well, the outline project plan and any professional advice can be uploaded.  For assistance, you might want to look at the Consent Guide and FAQ’s.  Lastly, any fees and capital expenditure should be identified for initial approval from the managing trustees. 

The next step for approval would be with the Circuit.  The project can be presented to a circuit meeting or the outline project plan could be submitted to a sub-committee with the authority of the circuit to approve projects.  This is particularly important if this project is part of a wider Circuit mission plan.  If the circuit approves the project, then a representative from the circuit logs the approval on the Consents website. 

Lastly, if you have not already been in touch with your DPS, then it would be beneficial to discuss with the DPS about the project and inform them of the project ID. 

If there are concerns about obtaining approval between Quarterly Circuit and Quarterly Church Council meeting, you could:

  • Create a sub-committee with the authority of the church/circuit
  • Send an email around with documents with approval back via email
  • Call an emergency meeting
3. RIBA Plan of Work

When liaising with architects and consultants, it may be useful to be aware that these steps sit within the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) Plan of Work Stage 2 (Concept Design).  The outputs would include Concept Design, Project Strategies, Cost Information and Final Project Brief. Click here to read more about RIBA Plan of Work.