Next Steps

Next Steps: Options, Resources and Support

Having reflected on some of these which seem pertinent in your context and setting, there are various opportunities for you to explore to enable further action.

This section is split into two parts:

  • Finding a Good Way Forward

  • Support Available from the Diocesan Team 

The aim is to give a good overview of what’s available. Looking through the possibilities may well help you decide on your next steps. If you’re not sure whether an option would work for you, or you don’t see quite what you’re looking for, please get in touch with us, and we will help you find a good way forwards. You’ll find contact details for a range of people below. Either contact the person who seems most likely to be able to help, or, if you’re not sure, contact Jonathan Kimber: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815.

Finding a Good Way Forward 

Here are three main options for a process for finding a good way forwards for your church/benefice/team.

To inform each of these options, here is a brief guide to informing your discussions with relevant data, about the church and its community.

1 Having a good conversation

As a church, you may find it helpful to start with a PCC or Standing Committee discussion, to explore what’s likely to be most helpful. You will probably have plenty of experience and wisdom about how to make your conversation as productive as possible: making sure all voices are heard; giving time and space to explore options, etc. When the conversation includes some big issues, many find it helpful to agree some ground rules at the beginning – and perhaps have them written up and visible. For instance: 

  • We’ll agree together what level of confidentiality is appropriate – and stick to that

  • We’ll make sure just one person talks at a time

  • We’ll listen in order to understand the other person’s perspective

  • We’ll respect each other’s range of opinions

  • We’ll welcome respectful questions

A guide to some more principles and possibilities for good conversations is available here.

When choosing how to focus your discussions:

  • In some places, there may be a very obvious need or opportunity crying out for attention. It will normally be best to start there. Might some form of support be useful, or a conversation with someone else?

  • It’s better to focus on just one or two things, and make progress, than to try to do too much. Consider balancing a short-term focus (a quick win) with a longer term project. And consider balancing something within the life of the church, with an outward-looking focus.

In all of this, at any stage, do get in touch with the Diocesan Team. See below for who might help with what, or get in touch with Jonathan Kimber, who will point you in the right direction: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815.

2 Mission Action Planning (MAP)

Many churches have found it helpful to work towards a ‘Mission Action Plan’, sometimes known as a ‘MAP’. The aim is to prayerfully consider together what should be the priorities for your church, and then come up with a plan that should help you bring those priorities to fruition.

The MAP approach has a systematic and well-planned feel to it. The aim is to work out where you want to get to, then put in place the necessary steps to get you there. You can use it for an overview of church life, or to focus on one particular area. 

The main steps to work through are:

  1. Where are we now?
    Review your situation

  2. Where are we going?
    Choose/discern future priorities

  3. What’s the best way to get there?
    Make plans

  4. What do we need to do now?
    Act on the plans

Click here for a summary of the approach. The Guide to good conversation may well be worth looking at, to help your discussions go as well as possible. If you might value working with somebody else to help you through the process, Jonathan Kimber can help put you in touch with somebody appropriate: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815.

3 Building on your strengths

Accompanied Parish Development (APD) is a new offer within this diocese that helps local churches build on their strengths, discern next steps, and turn their dreams into reality. APD team members will work alongside churches (to the extent that that’s helpful), walking with them to enable growth of local vision and engagement, to make disciples, share hope and transform their communities. APD can be moderately structured over a number of months, engaging alongside other churches. Or APD can be much more flexible and informal. Either way, find out more by having an informal exploratory conversation with Alison Maddocks (amaddocks@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 07930 853433) or Jonathan Kimber (jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815).

Support from the Diocesan Team

We’re all in this together! Let’s keep talking to others, including your Rural Dean, Lay Chair and Archdeacon, as appropriate.

The Diocesan Office Team, working with a number of other people, is focused on serving and supporting parishes. Here is a summary of the webpages and people that might be really helpful for you, whatever stage you are at in your plans. Please have a look, get in touch, and we look forward to working together. 

If you’re not quite sure who best to speak to, try contacting Jonathan Kimber in the first instance: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815.

Calling Young Disciples

This is a project working to strengthen churches’ engagement with children and young people. A team of experienced ‘Mission Enablers’ have already worked in a number of parishes. Simon Hill is currently the Acting Director for ‘Calling Young Disciples’. To find out more, contact Simon on shill@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732824. See also Children & Young People.

Calling/Vocation

To explore a sense of calling to some form of ministry – whether within the church or beyond its walls, whether more or less formal – John Fitzmaurice (Director of Ordinands and Vocation) would love to have an exploratory conversation. Contact John on JFitzmaurice@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732814.

Children and Young People

For all things to do with children and churches, contact the Children’s Officer Emma Pettifer: epettifer@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732823. See also Education. For anything to do with young people/adults (roughly 11 – 29) contact the Youth Officer, Simon Hill: shill@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732824. See also Education.

Church Buildings

The Church Buildings team webpage has a range of useful information, including church management and dealing with faculties. Contact Mark Carter: churches@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732809.

Coaching/Mentoring

A number of people find it really helpful to meet regularly with an experienced external coach or mentor, especially when facilitating change. To explore this possibility, please contact Jonathan Kimber in the first instance: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815.

Communications

The Communications Team is here to support parishes in communicating with each other and with their communities. They’d also love to hear from you regarding any stories of general interest. Contact the team here. Their webpage has a wide range of advice and tips.

Conversation/Discussion

Some of our discussions as churches will involve a range of opinions, and important issues. A refresher guide to having good conversations is available here.

Courses

There is a wide range of courses available to help with many aspects of Christian living and church life. To find out more about courses for growing in the Christian life and deepening discipleship, contact Doug Chaplin: dchaplin@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732817. 
For clergy development courses, or the national course Leading Your Church Into Growth (see below), contact Jonathan Kimber: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815.

Discipleship/Growing in faith

The Patterns for Kingdom Living resource offers pathways to help individuals take their next steps in faith, from any starting point. They may do this entirely on their own, or with some conversational support from someone else. You’ll find introductory videos (1 minute and 8 minutes) and all the resources here. Doug Chaplin, Discipleship and Lay Training Officer, will be happy to advise on this, or on other aspects of growing in discipleship: dchaplin@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732817

Education

The Education Team support the work of the 100 church schools in the diocese, and are very keen to strengthen links between churches and schools. Find contact details here and their webpages offer a wide range of information and support.

Evangelism

Finding authentic and relevant ways of helping others come to faith is one of the important challenges and opportunities we face. Many have found the free Faith Pictures course really helpful in being able to talk naturally and authentically with others. Or the national course Leading Your Church Into Growth (see below) can help a church think through how it helps others come to faith. For more ideas and support in this area contact David Sherwin (Bishop’s Adviser for Evangelism): davidwin56@aol.com or 01886 888664; or Bishop Robert Paterson (Dean of Evangelism): Bishop.Robert@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 07979 600627.

Finance

Members of the Finance Team are well aware of the challenges of parish finances, and are very happy to have an informal conversation, or offer support. The main contact person is Helen Archer-Smith: HArcher-Smith@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732804. For all queries relating to giving, online giving or Stewardship, see ‘Giving’.

Fresh Expressions/New Worshipping Communities

To find out more about starting a ‘fresh Expression of church’, or new worshipping community, explore the national website, or have a conversation with Mark Badger: mark.badger@motov8.org.uk. See also the Mission-Shaped Ministry course, run periodically within the diocese.

Giving

Alison Maddocks, the Stewardship Officer, is very happy to have a conversation about all things related to giving and churches. She is well aware of the challenges, and can help in a range of ways. Contact Alison on amaddocks@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 07930 853433. See also the webpage on Enabling Giving.

HR

The Diocesan HR team, Becky Lowe and Jo Hyrons, have put together a range of advice and useful links here, including matters of employment, and of working effectively with volunteers. If you would benefit from specific advice, please do not hesitate to contact the HR team on hrteam@cofe-worcester.org.uk.

Lay Ministry

A wide range of lay ministry enriches the life of the diocese, and contributes to the wider community. Much of this is informal; some is authorised or licensed. Doug Chaplin is a good contact for lay ministry and lay training in general, with particular responsibility for Authorised Lay Ministry: dchaplin@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732817. Sue Oliver is the warden of Licensed Lay Ministers (also known as Readers): canonsueoliver@btinternet.com.

LYCIG/Leading your Church into growth

This national course can help a church think through how it helps others come to faith. Might two or three from your church benefit from attending? We have some budget set aside to subsidise places: contact Jonathan Kimber: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815.

Ministry & Discipleship

The Ministry and Discipleship Team are here to support many aspects of church life. Our particular areas of responsibility are listed separately in this guide. If you have any general queries not addressed elsewhere, or you’re not sure, contact Jonathan Kimber, Director of Ministry and Discipleship: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815.

Parish buying

The Parish buying service uses the bulk buying power of the Church of England as a whole to negotiate competitive prices on a range of contracts. Their website includes a two-minute explanatory video, which is well worth watching. Alison Maddocks is happy to offer support if needed: amaddocks@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 07930 853433.

Resourcing Churches

Might your church benefit from working in some way with one of our Resourcing Churches? To explore this, start with an informal conversation: for Top Church, Dudley contact James Treasure (james@topchurch.co.uk or 01384 465540) for All Saints, Worcester contact Rich Johnson (rich@allsaintsworcester.org.uk or 01905 734625) Alternatively, are there any other churches in your area with whom you might explore new forms of partnership? What might be a good first step?

Safeguarding

We are committed to the safeguarding, care and nurture of everyone within our church communities. Please see these diocesan webpages for policies, information and training. For advice or support contact Hilary Higton, Safeguarding Advisor (hhigton@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 07495 060869) or Delia Stokes, Assistant Safeguarding Advisor (dstokes@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 07376374380.

Schools

See Education, above.

Smaller Churches

A number of our smaller churches, whatever the size of their building, will want to think through their identity and calling into the future. This will involve thinking about what role the building can best play, and also how the church can best meet, worship and participate in the life of the community. A new Smaller Churches Team Leader will soon be able to give particular support in this area. In the meantime, here is an initial guide for conversation, or contact your Archdeacon by email, or 01905 773301.

Training

See Courses above for a range of options. For Lay Training, contact Doug Chaplin dchaplin@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732817. For clergy training, including Regional and other courses, contact Jonathan Kimber: jkimber@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732815. Contact other teams to explore training in their areas of expertise.

Vocation

See Calling above.

Youth/Young People

For anything to do with young people/adults (roughly 11 – 29) contact the Youth Officer, Simon Hill: shill@cofe-worcester.org.uk or 01905 732824. See also Education.


Considering the future of a smaller church
For some, the Open Conversations may give permission for people to say out loud what might have been in their minds, “we can’t go on like this”.  This is not an expression of failure but rather an invitation to new possibilities.
Open Considering the future of a smaller church

A guide to Mission Action Planning
Mission Action Planning (MAP) is a process designed to help churches grow in depth, impact and numbers – in other words, to grow in health and sustainability. Some churches will find this approach very helpful in prayerfully charting their way forward under God at this present time.
Open A guide to Mission Action Planning

A guide to help enable Good Conversations
We all bring plenty of experience of conversations, but it can be helpful to revisit some good principles once again. Have a look through what follows, and see what might be relevant for your circumstances.
Open A guide to help enable Good Conversations

Relevant Data about the Church and its Community
As we prayerfully seek God’s calling and way forwards for our churches, it’s important to include candid reflection on the present and recent past. This note offers guidance about some of the numbers that should appropriately inform our discussions. 
Open Relevant Data about the Church and its Community

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