Friday, May 01, 2009

Mission Resources and Fresh Expressions on Diocesan Websites: Derby - London

Following on from the Bath and Wells - Coventry survey yesterday, a list of useful mission and fresh expression resources to be found on the 43 Anglican diocesan websites.

If I've missed something from from your site, it means that I couldn't find it after quite a bit of searching, so you may want to look again at how the website is structured!

Here we go....

12. Derby The stated vision of the diocese is to develop mission, ministry and discipleship, but there's no section on mission (or fresh expressions). Considering that it’s the first of the 3 Diocesan priorities this is very odd.

Their in the middle of a review process, which is asking some good questions and may deliver some fruit. Early days. Nothing on the site to really merit a visit from outside the Diocese.

13. Durham Colourful front page, nice.
Has a mission section, but without any spectacular content.

Oddly, the Board of Education has its own website! Not quite sure what this says… There you can find a list of children and communion resources, and some comprehensive guidelines on collective worship in schools, which is a bit chunky.

Beyond this, not much the visiting missioner to chew on.

14. Ely Good layout, substantial Mission and Ministry section, which in turn has a Fresh Expressions section. Dave Male, the FX missioner for the Diocese, publishes a monthly newsletter for them, which is brief, to the point, locally based (would apply to pretty much anyone in E Anglia) and easily skimmable.

The Mission Resources section is very brief, and could be expanded. Mission Action Planning, by contrast, has plenty of material, part of a Diocesan strategy to have a MAP from every parish for their 900th anniversary this year. Most of it is for diocesan consumption, rather than for visitors, though if you're doing MAP's, there may be something helpful.

15. Exeter 'Growing churches sit down for big lunch' turned out to be about churches which grow their own food, rather than in number!
- Substantial Mission section, including Fresh Expressions in Devon, with details of specific local fx's. Only the 2nd diocese so far (after Bristol) to list these...

- Some great mission work going on through the Cathedral: Life on the Beach is a mission partnership between Exeter Cathedral and local churches, using the Cathedral green for a Saturday open-air outreach/festival. Nightchurch is a fresh expression based in the Cathedral on Friday nights, aimed at Gen X and Y. We need more missionary Cathedrals!!!

- In the mission Downloads section you'll find a Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts questionnaire (just printed it off!), and (clever idea) examples of presentations on mission and fx which could be given to your parish/deanery by the Diocesan Missioner. There's also a very good paper on what Pioneer Ministry involveds, and changes in the way the church needs to see mission.

There's also material about 'Moving on in Mission and Ministry', the diocesan strategy, which looks like a version of Mission Action Planning.

16. Gloucester A few bits and bobs on mission. The resources section has some good titles, but some of the 'downloads' consists of just 2 or 3 sentences (e.g on 'science and religion'). It's interesting that the Vision of the Diocese is hosted in the mission section of the website. Also has an FX page with a link to feig, a local project.

Best bit: an entire website devoted to youth ministry, with sections for young people, and for youth leaders. Great resource both for them, and for any parish thinking of taking on a youth minister. Lots of stuff here that could be used by any diocese.

17. Guildford Looks to be plenty going on, the Mission and Parish Development page is well done, with a list of what they can advise on and help with, makes it easy for parishes to relate to what they're doing. It includes resources on:

- Fresh Expression: full marks to Bonnie Appleton, who's put together a concise list of every fx in the diocese, grouped by type (alternative, workplace, cafe etc.) with details of when and where. I love the idea of Songs of Rage, a church for people who like punk rock. For those with a bit more time, there's a 20 page thesis on the difference between fx and traditional outreach.

- Back to Church Sunday, with info on what's happened locally

- some very helpful profiles of team members and what they do - gets past the normally faceless view of 'the Diocese' and should help people relate more easily to what's being offered.

- A brief Sports Ministry page, great to find one of these!

- the mission deparment have produced a colourful booklet which explains what they do. Again, an excellent idea.

Finally, a booklet summarising discipleship resources (finding faith, growing faith, sharing faith, leadership), which I think is based on LICC materials. Good brief summary of each course, mirrors similar documents at Southwell and Chester. But why couldn't it be linked from every Diocese?

Well done Guildford, the kind of site you leave feeling encouraged.

18. Hereford Hides its mission resources in the Development and Training section, they took a bit of finding/guesswork.

Worth a visit:
- the first 'Christians at Work' section I've seen on a Diocesan website, with (bingo!) a free, downloadable 4-session small group course on the issue. Well done Hereford. Now on my hard drive.

- Stewardship resources under the title 'resources for mission', which is a good approach!

- a course developed by the Diocese to hep people share their faith: £5 for the DVD's and leaders notes, with a full outline of the course here.

- a fascinating page on using Mystery Plays (obviously a big thing locally) for mission.

19. Leicester Quite a few bits and pieces under mission and ministry, including the guidance notes for applications for mission funding from the diocese, which many Dioceses don't publish through their website.

Main bit of interest is the 24 page guide to nurture courses, which takes in Nooma as well as Alpha, and comments on strengths and weaknesses. Also has a section on discipleship and faith sharing courses.

Buildings for Mission, also hosted by the Diocese, might be a rebranded Diocesan Advisory Committee (planning permission people), but even so, I like their style. Oh no, they have a DAC as well.

The ongoing Diocesan strategy, Shaped By God, has a substantial mission element. 60 page booklet here, if you're interested. It's actually quite good, and peppered with case studies and diagrams. Interesting to compare and contrast this with that of my own Diocese....

20. Lichfield 'Going for growth' proclaims the headline, and the first link on the sidebar is to find out more about Jesus. However, Jonathan Gledhills head is still the first thing you notice as the site loads!!

Lichfields 'vision for growth' is spelt out elsewhere, however, none of the diocesan departments have anything on the website, and there is nothing related to mission or fresh expressions. Peculiar.

21. Liverpool This is one monster of a website, the sitemap is huge, and within it you can find:

- Good 'what does it mean to be a Christian' section, brief but comprehensive.
- Very helpful communications section, with concise and good advice on publicity, leaflets, noticeboards, photographs, magazines, new media etc. Yet another example of what could be on every Diocesan website, if only people talked to each other.

- the engine room for mission is the Vision, Mission and Growth section. There are primer pages on several topics - fresh expressions, community, ecumenical partnerships, work in deprived areas, developing your building etc.

- Liverpool also run a Going for Growth programme, at the core of which is a 'School of Leadership' for clergy, an intensive 11 week course. This looks like a great example of joined up thinking - growth and change is a process, and here is a diocese which has taken the process of moving into mission and growth seriously. (one slight glitch: two of the links point to the same page 'how do we grow our church?' has lost it's direction! There are some mission pages you can get to through the site map, but not from the mission pages!)

- Finally, a superb mini-site within the site on ACTS : a joint initiative with TEARfund to take parishes step by step through embarking on a new project for the benefit of the community, from building a community centre to running a fun day. Again, something which could be used anywhere. It includes stuff on setting up as a charity, recruitment, publicity, etc. Excellent.

The diocesan strategy includes identifying resource churches for specific ministries - their latest report (p6)talks of one for liturgy and worship, and another for pioneer ministry. Great idea - designated churches which can resource the whole diocese in specialist areas. The report also lists a number of church plants and pioneer projects: which makes it an encouraging and dynamic document, rather than a dry presentation of facts and figures.

22. Lincoln links the blogs of both bishops from its home page - the first website so far to give any profile to the blogs of its own people.

But that's about it: no sign of mission on the site map, and the closest thing - the U2charist, has been colonised by the Millenium Development Goals. Nothing on fresh expressions either.

23. London the top left hand corner of the home page starts 'Regulations and Policies' - not a promising start! However the site map is very easy to use (the best so far), and soon you'll find things like:
- A Capital Idea: study by Bob Jackson on the causes of the church growth experienced by London since the 1990s. The only Diocese so far with a research paper on its own success or otherwise in mission, the paper is an applied case study of Jacksons writing in Hope for the Church and The Road to Growth, and is well worth reading.

- nice introduction to baptism, for people enquiring about it.

- A Funding page, with the guidelines on applying for mission funding, plus other links to funding sources, and a summary of what they cover (e.g. Lottery community buildings fund).

- a substantial Mission Action Planning area, which you'd expect from the Diocese which pioneered this 15 years ago, with plenty of downloads of what it is, how to do it, worksheets helping folk to analyse their situation, a chart to plot your MAP, and 5 sample MAP's to show people what they look like. If you're looking for a good template, this is it.

Top Tips: Guildford (especially the Fresh Expressions bits) and Liverpool (both the leadership training and the ACTS process). Again, the picture is incredibly patchy, and there is plenty of scope for generic web pages which could be used by all diocesan sites.


  1. Peter Muir, Guildford Diocese1/5/09 6:29 pm

    Well done and thank you from an Ordinand who was delighted to discover a very useful resource for the Mission module I am studying this term. It must have taken a lot of time to put all this together and I am very appreciative. I have circulated a link to this blog to all my fellow students and tutors in the diocese with a "Michelin 3 star" rating - worth the detour to see!

  2. Thanks Peter, I was hoping it would prove useful to people. I'm hoping to get the other 20 or so dioceses up in 2 weeks time (away on a conference next week), and then to try to summarise the best links from all of them, and maybe a sketch of an 'ideal' mission resource site.

  3. Peter Muir6/5/09 1:57 pm

    Typo in London funding section - "missino funding"

  4. Thanks - dealt with (hopefully)

  5. Alexandra Lilley, Evangelical Alliance13/5/09 3:19 pm

    This is really helpful - thanks!
    I don't know if you're planning to widen the scope of your mission resources list, but I've been working on something called Square Mile to help people engage in integral mission, using the letters of MILE - Mercy, Influence, Life discipleship & Evangelism - to describe 4 areas of mission. I've just suggested it to the London diocese to help with Mission Action Plans. Anyway, you can read more here, if you're interested: