Mission planning is an important tool to enable Circuits/churches to assess their abilities and fruitfulness when they plan for mission. In the Darlington District Emma Nash (Evangelism & Growth Team), Helle Sewell (District Evangelism and Community Engagement Enabler) and Fiona Fidgin (Learning Network) delivered 4 sessions over 4 weeks in May 2021. The training is aimed at Superintendents and members of local Circuit Leadership Team, although it can be equally used by a single church and a Minister responsible for the church.
The Darlington District mission plan aspires to see every church growing in ten years (i.e. by 2030). The District has discerned that this will require that every church be 're-planted'. The aim is that every circuit will conduct a light-touch review by the end of 2021, including identifying growth/end of life plans for churches. There is also a recognition that the trauma of the pandemic has meant that churches may well have less – fewer people, fewer resources – and will have to work with what is left. The image of 're-planting' begs the question: what do we want the garden to look like? What plants will need to be pulled up? What will need to be encouraged to grow? What new things will need to be planted? What is God saying to us?
Each session is underpinned by the principles of Appreciative Inquiry – i.e. not focusing on deficits, not blaming or shaming, but looking for what is good and positive and seeking to nurture it.
Each session will feature a facilitation tip or idea which will be modelled by the facilitators Emma, Helle and Fidge in order to build ministers' skills in facilitation.
Session 1: Understanding our context
Session 2: Looking to the future
Session 3: Making wise choices
Session 4: Looking for fruitfulness
Each recorded session lasts about 1 hour.
Darlington Methodist District Office
Elm Ridge Methodist Church
Carmel Road South