Our sermon on Sunday 16 October was the presentation of our mission action plan and continues on from the questionnaires that we completed on Dedication Sunday (10.9.16). The questionnaires have been analysed and, together with the work of the way forward group, the Lent group and information about our church, has formed the basis of our mission action plan. We have the mission action plan (A) that contains everything plus all the information and is the story of our planning. We have the plan that just focuses on the fine detail – who does what, when and how (For the PCC) and we have the user friendly version, which is being presented this morning. Everyone was given a copy as they arrived this morning. If you were unable to collect your copy, you can download one here friendly-map.
We decided to present this is a slightly different way – with an interviewer (in red) asking questions of the church wardens (in black) and myself (in blue) as priest in charge.
PRESENTATION OF OUR MISSION ACTION PLAN (16.10.16)
2nd Letter of Paul to Timothy: 3.14 – 4.5
This morning “Question Time” is being hosted at St. Margaret’s Church, Prestwich. Our panel today consists of Carol Olive and Rev’d Deborah – Zandra gives her apologises for not being able to come this morning. We have spared no expenses in procuring our presenter David Dimbleby aka Mark Gale. The theme for the morning is our mission action plan.
Mark: I believe that St. Margaret’s and St. George’s have been spending some time developing a mission action plan. What is a mission action plan? What is it for?
Our mission action plan is to enable us to focus on what is important to us, what our priorities are and how we can put them into action so that we can continue to grow and be a transforming presence in our community.
Mark: Can you tell us the kinds of things that you have been doing to get this information?
The way forward group looked at what happens in church, who does what, how we use our building and what they would like to see happening.
The Lent course explored where we are as a church. Our strengths, our weakness and what they would like to see happening.
We also looked at information the diocese has given us about our parish and our community.
The PCC has also been involved in the process.
Mark: I believe that all the congregations completed a questionnaire a few weeks ago. Why?
We wanted everyone to have a say in what they thought about church and how we can grow in the future.
Mark: What did the results of the questionnaire show?
The questions were devised to look at certain aspects of the church.
Our values, what we thought we are about were welcome, worship, fellowship and service.
Our vision is to have a thriving, vibrant, exciting church growing in numbers, spirituality and serving God in the community.
The questionnaire highlighted our strengths as being welcoming and friendly. People liked the services and wanted to hold onto our traditional but modern services but thought it would be good to explore different types of services not necessarily on a Sunday to attract new people – e.g. Messy Church or Family Friday with a very different approach. People thought that fellowship and pastoral care were also good. Our strengths also included two beautiful churches and three buildings that are used for the community.
The questionnaires showed that areas for development include
- Increase in numbers- especially children, families and young adults.
- Being proactive in the community
- Aspects of spiritual growth, nurture and giving
- Communication – especially in terms of social media and people being aware of our presence.
- Partnership with others.
You can see some of the comments on p3 of the booklet you got when you arrived.
Mark: What did you do next?
We collated the responses together to find out what our priorities were.
The top priority was growth. People want to see church, both here and at St. George’s full, especially with young people and families but we also want to hold onto the values that make us who we are.
We want to be active in the community, serving others
We also want to grow spiritually and in nurturing each other and new disciples.
These were the top three.
However there were another two areas that came out as important. One of these was communication. How we communicate both internally and externally? How do we make ourselves known to the community? How do we publicise ourselves? Thanks to Carol P we have made great strides with social media (website, Facebook, Twitter and Parish App – Apple and Android).
The other area was that of partnerships with others – we are already part of the Prestwich Mission Partnership. How can we develop this further? There are plans for us to work together to develop a partnership action plan. Similarly there are plans for our deanery to meet together and develop an action plan for our deanery.
Mark: So you have all this information. What do we do with it? What does the mission action plan look like?
DSP: Our mission action plan is based on the five priorities that came out of the questionnaires and discussions within the Lent Group, the way forward and the PCC. Spiritual growth and nurture, growth in numbers, serving the community, communication and partnerships.
There are two parts
Part 1 – Our ongoing day to day mission which builds on what we already do.
Part 2 – Themed years which focus on a particular priority.
Mark: So how will that work out in practice? What is our on-going mission plan?
Our on-going mission is recognising what we do on a regular basis and building on that. If you look at the centre pages there are some of the things that we already do and how we can develop them further
DSP gives example of school and occasional offices.
Mark: What about these themed years?
The idea is that in the coming years each will have a slightly different theme and focus on out top three priorities – growth, mission and service.
Mark: What about communication and working in partnership with others?
These will be integrated throughout all the themed years.
Mark: How will the themed years work?
In many ways this has been a trial year. On our website it says that we are in the year of fellowship. This year we have focused building relations and pastoral care. We have had lots of social events by MU, social circle, some at the vicarage and staycation.
Each year will have a special week which focuses on the theme.
This year we had a staycation week, next year in the year of growth we will focus on a week around dedication Sunday, in the year of mission we will have a week of mission after Easter reaching out to school during the day and different groups of people in the evening. Staycation will be ‘Staycation plus 1’ – bring a friend.
In the year of service there will be a week when we focus of something within the community.
In addition Harvest will follow the themes, as will the Lent course. There may even be one or two of the sermons!
If you look at the next pages of the booklet you can see some of the ideas that we have.
Mark: How can you plan for three years’ time?
We can’t plan exactly but we can have ideas and continually review what we are doing and what is appropriate. We are open to ideas and thoughts. Our mission plan is incorporated in this booklet, but we also have this booklet which is the fine detail – what needs to be done, who will do what, are there any financial/resource implications. This file here outlines everything we have done, including data, numbers etc.
Mark: And where is God in all this?
God has to be at the centre of all that we do, and all that we do has to be grounded in prayer. In fact our gospel reading focuses on this. Jesus tells his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. If a judge responds to the persistent knocking of a widow, how much more will he respond to us as we persist in prayer? However there also a challenge to us at the end of the parable. When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth? Do we have the faith that God can and will work through us? We are called to be missional people. The letter to Timothy points this out clearly: proclaim the message; be persistent whether the time is favourable or unfavourable; convince, rebuke, and encourage, with the utmost patience in teaching. Our mission action plan is a means of helping us to become people of mission as we share the love of God here at St. Margaret’s and St. George’s and within our local community.
Mark: Let us commit ourselves and our mission action plan to God by saying together the prayer on the back of the booklet.
We pray that, according to the riches of his glory, we may be strengthened in power through the Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith, as we are being rooted and grounded in love.
For we are what He has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God has prepared beforehand to be our way of life.