Planning is an important way to demonstrate stewardship of a church’s resources – we cannot do everything. We are called to do much, and we cannot waste human and financial resources by scattering our energy on multiple projects that are not thought through.
There are many occasions when planning is helpful: planning an event, planning for a crisis or disaster, planning for better communication, strategic ministry planning, and mission action planning, to name a few.
Many models have come from the business world, but a business model adopted without change misses what we in the church value most: prayerful discernment, engagement of the members of the parish or diocese, and the non-hierarchical way we do God’s work in communities of faith and outside in the broader community. Models from non-profits or the voluntary sector are much more helpful, but even then, they need to be carefully adapted to fit a faith-community setting and its people.
What follows here are some models of planning – how to guides if you like – for events, for crisis, for communications, for future ministry. And, so that you can see fully how some models can be utilized, there are samples of actual plans that various church bodies have made available.
Your parish or diocese will have to make up its own “plan for planning” because you have different aspects of your life to consider, but hopefully these resources will assist you in your discernment toward a way that makes sense for your faith community.
Guides to Mission Action Planning
- Living Faith: Mission Action Planning, a Simple Guide (PDF)
Diocese of Oxford, Church of England
- The Mission Action Process (PDF)
Diocese of Southward, Church of England
- Mission Action Planning
Diocese of London, Church of England
- Mission Action Planning
Diocese of Edmonton
Samples of a Mission Action Plan
“Am I faithful to the gifts that I possess, to the strengths and abilities that I bring to the world? Am I faithful to the needs I see around me? Am I faithful to those points at which I intersect the needs of the world and have a chance to serve? Do I enter that opportunity, as complex and challenging as it may be, or do I shy away, run away, for fear that I won’t be able to serve well or that I’ll be stretched beyond my ability to serve?”
–Parker Palmer, 2013
- Strategic Ministry Planning – Weekend Retreat (Microsoft Word)
- Strategic Ministry Planning – Long Discernment Process (Microsoft Word)
- Planning an Event for Parishes and Diocese (Microsoft Word)
- Example – Planning Process – St Thomas’, Sarnia (PDF)
- Example – Mission Action Plan – Qu’Appelle (PDF)
- Example – Strategic Action Plan – St Peter’s, Cobourg (PDF)
- Example – Strategic Action Plan – St. Christopher, Burlington (PDF)
- Article – Planning – Six Assumptions, Six Realities (Alban Institute) (PDF)