mission shaped church
to be based. Change works best within frameworks that can live with
learning on the journey, accepting the freedom to make mistakes, and
using review as the basis for continued change.
One set of principles is suggested here, but these may be adapted as
needed in the particular case. Implicit within this framework is the
assumption that, as appropriate, plans will be developed with the
participation of other churches with a missionary concern for the area
That a church that wishes to plant, or to develop existing organic growth
outside its own parish, consults early with the bishop.
That the bishop acts as broker between the sending church and the
calling or receiving parish.
That prayer and listening to each other are part of the process as it
unfolds, and that public prayer is offered by all parties for the others,
on a regular basis.
That the leaders and churches of the sending, sent and receiving groups
maintain a consistent public affirmation of each other.
That churches foster good relationships between themselves, expressed
at appropriate levels and intervals.
That ongoing consultancy is offered to sent and receiving churches
in terms of strengthening their respective senses of identity, call and
This consultancy will include issues of personal growth for all parties
such as feelings of threat, fear of failure, jealousy and self doubt, as well
as how to rejoice in progress and how to avoid a comfortable plateau.
A diocesan led process of review is agreed at the outset.
The above approach has a number of commendable features:
It maintains a unity that embraces diversity.
It gives a missionary framework for diocesan wide decisions, as well as
practical steps through which to test out the process.