Resourcing Mission Communities

We will resource our Mission Communities by

1       Fostering more vocations

2       Resourcing Ministry

3       Encouraging growth

4       Providing Training Resources

5       Developing online resources

6       Serving and working with the community


1       Fostering more vocations

‘The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for the building up of the body of Christ’ Ephesians 4:11-12

We will foster more vocations to resource our mission communities by:

    • Setting up local training
    • Supporting clergy to develop people’s gifts for use in the church, community and work place
    • Increasing flexible and local pathways for lay training
    • Encouraging young vocations
    • Developing rural pathways for ordination training
    • Developing specialist curacies

2       Resourcing Ministry

‘Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:11

There is no one recipe for growing healthy churches, but we know that churches that grow are ones which are willing to work as a community.  There needs to be effective leadership and careful deployment in order to make the best use of all the gifts of God’s people. To that end we are committed to:

  • Improving recruitment by
    • Creating attractive posts
    • Reviewing our recruitment process
    • Ensuring safer recruitment policies are implemented
    • Supporting the development of more imaginative parish profiles
    • Developing flexible appointment processes to retain curates
  •  Improving deployment by
    • Developing more flexible deployment of clergy (Stipendiary and Self Supporting)
    • Flexible use of Readers
    • Developing turn around teams and interim ministers
    • Resourcing ministry in new housing areas
    • Encouraging church plants, Bishop’s Mission Orders, Fresh Expressions, Minster Churches and Resource Churches
  •  Reviewing the use of Mission Enablers and Mission Community Advisers by
    • Reviewing the allocation and use of their time
    • Developing new opportunities to exchange good practice in mission

 3       Encouraging growth

‘Encourage one another daily’ Hebrews 3:13

The role of the Bishop’s Senior Staff and Diocesan Officers is to support our Mission Communities by:

  • Developing local mission and ministry teams
    • Ensure there is a visible and named pastoral presence in every church
    • Develop ‘school teams’ in Mission Communities to engage with local school communities
    • Develop leadership models which equip clergy and lay ministers for ministry in multi-parish benefices
    • Raising the quality of worship in our parishes, schools and chaplaincies.
  •  Supporting Mission Communities
    • Bishops in Mission: a programme of visits by the Bishops
    • Clearer use of Archdeacons’ Visitations
    • Exploring the role of the Cathedral as the Mother Church of the Diocese in apologetics
    • Enhance the role of the Archidiaconal Mission and Pastoral Committees in strategic planning and enabling Mission Communities identify the best legal structure to support their life
    • Support the development of simple, but effective Mission Action Plans
    • Streamline paper work for Churchwardens
    • Using the Diocesan Mission and Growth Fund to support local initiatives in mission
    • Apply to the Church Commissioners for the funding of major projects.

4       Providing Training Resources

‘For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 12:12

Mission Communities require ministry and leadership of different kinds. Gifts need to be nurtured and encouraged through an integrated pattern of lay and ordained training.

  • Supporting Clergy
    • Investment in Ministerial Development Review
    • Consistent investment in regular and up-to-date safeguarding training
    • Greater support for those making the transition into their first incumbency
    • Support and permission for those looking to do things differently
    • Encourage appropriate leadership and oversight of lay ministry
    • Investment in quality Clergy Ministerial Development
  •  Developing Lay Ministry
    • Create accessible and flexible training for lay people in pastoral care, worship and discipleship, stewardship and grant applications and youth, children’s and family work.
    • Create training for parish and Mission Community Administrators
  •  Supporting Mission and Ministry Teams
    • Training for leading teams and collaborative ministry
    • Set up learning communities
    • Working with and leading volunteers
    • Training for overseeing a multi parish benefice
    • Working with school communities
    • Conflict transformation training
    • Developing mentoring

5       Developing online resources

‘We have different gifts according to the grace given us’ Romans 12:6

A healthy church uses a variety of gifts, learns from others, and is willing to change. This will be facilitated by online resources on the Diocesan website.

  • Resources for enabling Mission Communities
    • A model Mission Action Plan
    • A range of legal/governance arrangements for Mission Communities
    • Practical guidance for managing finance and risk
    • Materials to support worship audits
  •  Resources for supporting church growth
    • Information about healthy churches e.g. Five Marks of mission, Evidence to Action
    • Making effective use of buildings including Festival Churches
    • Discipleship courses: e.g. Alpha, Pilgrim and Emmaus
    • Prayer and Spirituality e.g prayer spaces, Cursillo
    • Improving the quality of worship in our churches, schools and chaplaincies
    • Sharing good practice

6       Serving and working with the community

‘Let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action’ 1 John 3:18

A healthy church looks outward to its local community, engaging with contemporary issues and fostering partnerships which promote the common good. We will facilitate this by:

  • Providing resources to help Mission Communities engage with partnerships and projects that promote justice and inclusion e.g. community food projects, parish nursing, family support, Fairtrade, refugee initiatives, Shrinking the Footprint
  • Investing in our diocesan links with the Diocese of Thika and Cyprus and the Gulf so that we create learning partnerships
  • Sharing best practice through stories and web-based resources
  • Recognising the distinctive age profile of Devon to draw upon the experience and gifts of older people in the community
  • Nurturing a distinctive Christian voice to challenge injustice
  • Helping churches adapt and use their buildings as a resource for their communities
  • Responding to the needs of schools through initiatives such as Open the Book and Faiths Speakers Project
  • Facilitating conversations about family and community issues in partnership with the Mothers’ Union
  • Promoting physical and mental health e.g. dementia friendly churches.

+ Robert Exon

The Feast of the Epiphany 2016

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