Mission Action Plans

Why do we need a Mission Action Plan?

It’s a well-known truism that ‘if you aim at nothing, you’re bound to hit it’. The same is true for our mission and ministry. We might look around our churches and wish for more people, warmer buildings, a richer prayer life, more young people, committed volunteers, stable finances, more engaging sermons or better coffee – but if we don’t have a vision for the future and a plan to get there we never will.

What is a Mission Action Plan?

A Mission Action Plan (MAP) is a document which articulates the vison for growth which has been agreed within a Mission Community and the practical steps needed to move towards this. MAPs are a local expression of the Diocesan Vision: to grow in prayer, make new disciples and serve the people of Devon with joy.

A MAP is not just a list of what you currently do, neither is it a static document. MAPs develop over time and change as they are used. The practical steps described in you MAP can be used to set the agenda for the Parish or Mission Community Council and help you to stay focussed on the things which you have decided are most important.

A MAP doesn’t have to be a complicated document. The example below is a simple four-point MAP which is structured around the three-fold diocesan vision. Please click the image to download the MAP.

Four-point MAP

Some other examples of different ways to present a MAP are available below. All these show how the diocesan vision can be used to expand local strategic priorities set following a vision day or consultation exercise. Please click the image to download the full MAP.

Text based MAPGrid style MAP

Larger churches might choose to structure their Mission Action plan around a larger number of priorities or action areas. The following is an example based on the ‘Eight Common Factors of Growing Churches’ from the Church of England report ‘From Evidence to Action’. This MAP is an real example from a church in the diocese, and has been updated since this version was produced.

MAP based on 8 factors of growing churches

MAP based on 8 factors of growing churches

Mission Community Development Team

The Mission Community Development Team are here to walk with mission communities as they produce a MAP or revisit their existing strategy. During the process they will draw on local expertise and link mission communities with expert practitioners and advisers who can help develop the details of their MAP. Each archdeaconry has a Mission Community Development Adviser who will work with the Archdeacon and be your first port-of-call as you write or revise a MAP.

To contact the Mission Community Development Team, please contact Mike Clark on 07889 570159 or Email Mike


COVID-19 Research

Since March 2020, members of the Mission Community Development Team have been supporting a number of pieces of research which explore how churches and individuals are responding to the pandemic in Exeter Diocese.

April 2020

A month after the start of lockdown, licensed ministers in the diocese were asked how they had adapted their practice in the light of the emerging risks and restrictions.

As part of this survey, respondents were asked “Have you been able to reflect theologically on how you are currently being church and conducting your ministry? What are your conclusions?” The full set of answers to this question have been sorted into themes and are presented here in an ‘Open-Source Theology of Lockdown”

May 2020

In May, the Bishop of Plymouth asked every deanery chapters (Groups of clergy in a geographical are) to discuss ten questions about their current and future response to COVID-19.

July 2020

The diocesan-wide Communications and Engagement survey conducted by Power Marketing in July included the question: “Thinking about the last few months of the COVID-19 Lock down – what is the biggest question it’s raised for you about God, faith and the world?” Five typical questions emerged from the 383 responses to this question. These will form the basis of small group discussions across the diocese intended to equip church members to seek theological answers to these crucial questions of faith. The questions are:

  • Where is God in this?
  • What is God saying to us?
  • What have we learnt about ourselves?
  • What sort of church do we need to be?
  • What do we need to hold on to?

The responses which led to these questions and a discussion of their significance is included in the report: Theological Reflection Work Stream Survey Report.

For more information about any of these surveys, please contact the Communications and Engagement Team or The Revd Jon Marlow.