Mission Planning Toolkit

Our Church’s Future Story

Designed specifically for Methodists by the Mission Resource Development Group, this set of resources takes your church, circuit or district through the process of considering and planning for the next chapter in their story. It comes in the form of a set of cards for use by a facilitator – perhaps a presbyter, local leader or outside mentor.

The cards are designed to be used for a half-day event, but could also be used for a series of evening events or adapted for other settings too (such as café-style worship or as part of a regular service). While some of the cards are introductory, the rest of the cards divide into two categories: exploratory cards are for churches beginning to think about future changes, while developmental cards are for churches wishing to plan concretely for future changes. You should feel free to adapt and use the cards in whatever way works best, although a suggested running order is offered. 

Our Church’s Future Story is available for free from Methodist Publishing. For a preview of the resource, please click on the title above.

Mission Action Planning

This approach to mission planning has been used extensively in the Church of England. The basic structure follows a very simple cycle: review, choose, plan, act. There is much flexibility within this approach for a church, circuit or district to decide exactly how they want to go about the process and how long they will spend on each stage. You will find a short overview of the process here, adapted from a resource produced by the Diocese of Oxford

Appreciative Inquiry

The beauty of this approach to mission planning is that it is very positive and affirming. The focus is on what has been good in a church’s history; what is good and precious now; and what good things God might have for the future. It encourages a church, circuit or district to look for its assets rather than focusing on its perceived deficits. This resource offers lots of activities to choose from – there is no need to do them all – along with some resource sheets to use in consultation sessions. It has been adapted from material produced by the Wey Valley Circuit in the South East District, and the Yorkshire Plus region of the Learning Network. It could be used in a number of different settings.

Healthy Circuits Handbook

Inspired by Robert Warren’s Healthy Churches’ Handbook, this resource has been produced by a group of District Development Enablers in the north of England specifically for use by Methodist circuits. It describes seven ‘marks’ of a healthy circuit and invites users to reflect together and discern how their circuit is doing in each of these areas. This could be used to review your circuit or local church, with the results of your review informing your mission plan. It could be worked through in a couple of hours, or else form part of a longer process.

Change Management Training Resource

This is not a mission planning process as such; instead it’s a great set of teaching materials to help you get ready for mission planning and for the changes which will flow from it. Then you could use one of the other resources to help you write the mission plan. 

This substantial resource has been written by the East Central region of the Learning Network and is designed to be used by an experienced facilitator over two half-days. There is an abundance of material here for churches, circuits or districts who would like to reflect deeply on the nature of change, its impact and how to lead people in change well. This resource may be particularly helpful in those contexts where substantial change may be needed, and/or where there is much resistance to change. It could be used as a preparation for any of the mission planning processes outlined above. There is a PowerPoint presentation to accompany this resource. 

Mission Plan Framework: committing your mission plan to paper

The most important part of mission planning is the conversation your church, circuit or district has begun about how you would love to see God work in your community. A piece of paper with ‘Mission Plan’ at the top is a way of capturing where you are with God’s mission at a given point in time and how you plan to see it develop. It should not be seen as a fixed piece of paperwork but a working document which changes each year as you review how things have been going and what you plan to do in the following year. 

This framework has been produced to help you capture some key aspects of your mission conversation. It is supplied as a Word document so that it can be edited and adapted as needed. You should feel free to use your own alternative if you have one. Some guidance notes have also been supplied to help you fill it in. 

The mission plan framework includes questions to help you think about the use of your building. If you are not sure whether your building in its current form serves your mission plan, a Local Church Property Profile should be completed; you can find out about this via the property projects web page.  This template has been developed by the Property Team to help trustees conduct a thorough evaluation of the potential uses for the property within Methodist ownership.  Once completed, a copy should be sent to the District Property Secretary.  

Mission Plan Review

A series of questions to help you review your mission plan and write a new one for the coming year. 

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