Key Topics

We know there’s lots to consider when it comes to deciding to begin your Fit for Mission journey. When we were talking to our first cohort we learnt some of the issues that local parishes wanted tackling, so we’ve collated information on a range of key topics:


Governance and PCCs

Time and time again we’re told a big block of time spent doing mission is the amount of time we have to spend on local church governance. To change this our churches will
need lighter structures that allow us to focus on mission and ministry within our local communities.


New PCC Setup:

Each larger parish will have one new PCC, serving as the governing body, and focusing on finance, buildings, employment, safeguarding and other legal aspects. Meanwhile, local leadership teams will
concentrate on mission and ministry.


Connection points:

Each church or worshipping community will have a named clergyperson who will oversee both the community and the local leadership team.

Every church will also have a finance co-ordinator, warden, and safeguarding officer, who will be members of three respective PCC sub committees.


Transition period:

Towards the end of the two-year transition period, before the larger parish is formed, a shadow PCC group will meet to prepare for this new way of governance and ensure a smooth transition. They will be the bridge between the current and new structures, and they’ll work on policies and communication plans to ensure the new governance structure is ready for action.
 
We want everyone in our church congregations to be well-informed and engaged with the process – a Navigation team, made up of local clergy and lay people, will be responsible for coordination and communication during the transition period through a local communications teams.
 
At every stage local people, lay and clergy, will be making up the teams that decide the shape of the future larger parish - your experience and knowledge will form the future. 


Finance

We can’t escape talking about money. If we have money we can make positive choices about what we do in mission. By managing money together, we can support each other, and be good stewards of the money God has given us.
 
Our main principles are that

  • Each church should be self-sufficient, but with an openness to supporting the wider body of Christ (Acts 4 & 2 Cor 8)
  • Each church has its own fund, in the shared finance system (My Fund Accounting Online), with up-to-date income and expenditure always visible to both the PCC finance team and the leadership team of the church
  • All money given to a church is credited to that church’s fund, including the Parish Giving Scheme (PGS) and legacies, rather than it disappearing into one big pot.

The PCC will align their work to a transparent set of fiscal rules, so everyone can feel confident.

The PCC, acting as faithful stewards and charity trustees, will oversee parish finances with a commitment to compliance and accurate reporting, updating on progress at every parish meeting. When it comes to individual church finances, each community will balance what they spend with what they get, using a forward-looking budget. If an expenditure is already foreseen in the church’s budget, their leadership team can spend it when needed without PCC authorisation.
 
The finance sub-committee of the PCC will put the budgets together; each church will have a member on that team to ensure good understanding and communication. Care and collaboration When people give money for specific reasons (restricted donations), the PCC finance sub-committee will make sure it’s used in line with the individual’s wishes. Likewise, this finance team will be sensitive to unrestricted legacies and ensure that funds designated for a previous purpose (e.g. fundraising for a new toilet block) will be used for that.


Local Leadership teams

Becoming a larger parish brings many exciting opportunities, one of which is the introduction of Local Leadership teams.

While the PCC focus on governance matters, these new teams will focus on mission, ministry and justice initiatives in the local church and community. Whether a large church or a smaller worshipping community, our local leadership teams will be led by the Spirit to deepen and grow the local expressions of church, with each team member bringing their gifts and strengths into the mix, championing the 4 mission priorities in the context they serve;

  • introducing more people to Jesus,
  • deepening discipleship,
  • developing Christian leaders,
  • working for justice.

 
During the ‘act as if’ transition period, the Cultivate team will help each church/worshipping community develop its missional opportunities, through six-monthly pyramid reviews. This process will also help define the future priorities for the local leadership team. Leadership teams, overseen by a named clergyperson, have the flexibility to lead the mission and ministry in their unique context. Because they are part of a larger parish, they also have the support of a wider group of people to bring new skills/experience and the possibility of working together across the larger parish on some aspects of ministry (e.g. youth).

Each local leadership team is accountable to their clergy person, the PCC and each other. This focus on the local, while being part of a diverse whole, reflects the diocesan commitment to a full variety of traditions so the maximum number of people can find a place of belonging.


Resources and support

Moving into a larger parish structure opens the door to greater collaboration and skill sharing, by enabling best practices in existing and new worshipping communities. Where it makes sense, leaders can form strong portfolio team ministries across the larger parish and develop diverse worshipping communities and justice initiatives, so more people can find a place of belonging in their community.

This greater sense of collaboration and collegiality will also benefit our clergy, who will be able to receive closer support and accountability from each other, increasing their sense of well-being and reducing feelings of overwhelm and isolation as they journey the path of ordained ministry together.

A key principle in the Fit for Mission programme is supporting local leadership and enabling local decision-making. At every step local leaders will be supported to make good local decisions; the Fit for Mission team and resources then enable those decisions to be implemented. Skilled change facilitators and leadership coaches are on hand to guide through challenges, as clergy meet weekly to foster support, accountability and collaboration.

A range of other teams, made up of both clergy and lay leaders will be created to help navigate the journey together. During the 2-year transition period, a Rector will be appointed to lead the clergy team, through a standard transparent clergy appointment process run by your Archdeacon and Bishop. There will also be an open invitation to attend Cultivate, a programme designed to help lay people identify their missional call and create new or develop existing worshipping communities and justice initiatives.

You can find out more about Cultivate, here.


Buildings

Our buildings are well-loved and important parts of both our church and local communities. As we think about how we can grow and sustain our churches for the future, we recognise the challenges we face in adapting them for 21st-century mission and worship, while also maintaining and repairing them.

Rather than responding from a point of crisis, the right building process is focused on taking a proactive approach to the challenges. Allowing space and time for detailed consideration, investigations and the forming of a proposal that will enable a larger parish to make good local decisions about what will best support their mission and ministry.

Led from a local parish level, the local right buildings team will begin a consultation process, gathering data, and assessing each building against a 14-point assessment that covers; spiritual and social support, environmental impact and economic sustainability. These assessment objectives align with the objectives of the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for sustainable development and the

Church of England’s Coming Home report which highlights social and environmental benefits when looking at the use of church assets.

The local team who will undertake this work will be made up of between 5 - 8 people, who will work together to ensure that local intel is uncovered, understood and fully considered in the process. Following on from this proposal and decision-making stage, there is the additional Fit for Mission resource of a buildings project manager, to help develop projects that will improve our buildings for mission. This will be supported by a fundraiser, who can support fundraising efforts, for the budget needed for building reorganisation.


Safeguarding

While this journey may change the way we do some things, what won’t change is our commitment to safeguarding.

As you explore Fit for Mission, it’s important to know more about the strong safeguarding plan for each parish. Working together in a larger parish, safeguarding structures will adapt to offer more support to Parish Safeguarding Officers (PSOs), while following existing principles. A PCC safeguarding sub-committee, led by a parish safeguarding lead who is also a PCC member, will work together across the larger parish.

The sub-committee will be made up of a Parish Safeguarding Officer from each church. Safer recruitment will be streamlined by using better IT and the opportunity of much of the process being undertaken by the centralised support services team, freeing up PSOs to be the safeguarding eyes and ears on the ground.

The role of the Diocesan Safeguarding Team won’t change; they will continue to provide, support, guidance and training. They will also continue to receive reports of any safeguarding concerns.


Church of the future

In working hard to sustain and grow our churches of today, it’s exciting to reflect on what this could mean for our churches of tomorrow. By aligning our work to the four missional priorities we can practically consider what it may mean to experience church in the future. We are prayerful and hopeful for a thriving church, with congregations that are rich in diversity, across age, ethnicity, ability, gender and tradition, and buildings that are accessible and environmentally friendly.

Looking forward we envision that local leadership teams will be made up of passionate and skilled individuals who will help to drive local mission and ministry, supported by a team rector and a wider PCC, who’ll look after governance tasks. We hope to see clergy build strong relationships with each other, as they work together providing each other with mutual support and accountability. They will be free to focus on mission and ministry, while a skilled support services team focus on administration.

We anticipate a wide variety of portfolio ministries across wider geography, with local lay people sharing their gifts and calling with the wider community, perhaps in youth and children’s work, funeral ministry, or social justice. We hope to see more people come to know Jesus, deepen discipleship, develop leaders, and work for more justice, and we hope you will be part of making this happen.

 

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