Mission Action Planning

Bishop of Sheffield Dr Pete Wilcox

Since 2015, Mission Action Planning has become an established part of church life in the Diocese of Sheffield, encouraging a rhythm of regularly seeking God, prayerfully reflecting on what God is doing amongst us and discerning where God is leading us.

Mission Action Planning offers an opportunity to see things from new perspectives, to discover new ways of doing things and to learn from each other as we travel together.

Bishop Pete says "As a keen advocate of regular, prayer centred planning, I have been encouraged by the level of take up across the Diocese in the Mission Action Planning cycle."





Mission Action Planning Tool 3


Cover of the MAP3 ToolIn 2019 Bishops Pete and Peter are asking the churches of our Diocese to use MAP tool 3 to consider how they can play a part in turning our Diocesan vision and strategy into a reality.  "To grow a sustainable network of Christ-like and diverse Christian communities in every place" as we seek to become a generous and flourishing Diocese of Sheffield.

MAP 3 builds on MAP 1 and MAP 2 and is made up of two sections.  

  • The first section is a light review of previous MAPs.  Churches are asked to consider the progress they have made since MAP 1 and to consider how they will keep building on each of the eight areas of church life that help churches to grow in spiritual depth and mission. 
  • The second section focuses on the Renewed and Rejuvenated strands of the new Diocesan strategy asking churches to consider how they can promote and be involved in taking the strategy forward.  The Released strand of the Strategy will be a focus of MAP 4.

Printed copies of the MAP 3 tool have been sent out to incumbents (or wardens if in vacancy.)  Bishop Pete is asking all churches to complete their MAP 3 and return it to the Parish Support Team by 31st March 2019.  You can download a PDF version of MAP 3 below and also submit your completed MAP 3.  In addition you can download copies of "From Anecdote to Evidence" and "Evidence to Action" reports.



  • Evidence to Action (www.fromevidencetoaction.org.uk) is a website with a huge range of links to resources useful to church growth. It was set up to follow up the 'From Anecdote to Evidence' research. Each section of their website roughly corresponds to each of our main MAP tool themes.

Mission Action Planning making a difference, helping Churches to Grow

The  Mission Action Planning process enables us to explore what we are good at, what challenges we face, what opportunities God is laying before us and are specific to our context.  The Mission Action Planning process is centred on prayer - asking God to guide and inspire the planning process and is an ongoing spiral involving four key stages:

  1. Looking and Listening to the context in which God has placed you for your mission, by listening to the community you are in, to those who belong to the church and to God.
  2. Reviewing taking the the things you have noticed in the Looking and Listening stages and using them to establish a vision for the church and setting long term Priorities and Goals.
  3. Planning in this stage the priorities and goals that have been discerned are broken down into specific SMART actions.  That set out how and when things will be done, by who and with what.
  4. Acting in some ways this is the most important stage - putting the plans into practice.

The spiral then continues, this time the Looking and Listening phase includes looking at your progress in implementing the plan, learning from things that go well and also those that don't.  In the light of this the plan can be reviewed, refined and refreshed.

In 2018 the Parish Support Team conducted an internal appraisal of the Diocesan Mission Action Planning process.  All the MAPs (1 & 2) and MAP Reviews that have been produced across the Diocese over the 4 years from 2015 to 2018 were re-visited.  

The team were encouraged by the levels of engagement with the process and the creative ways through which many parishes have been seeking to implement Diocesan Strategy and grow their churches.  

As part of the appraisal the team looked for signs of growth (or decline) over the 5 year period from 2012 to 2017.  This clearly showed that churches that have engaged most fully with the MAP process are more likely to be growing than those that have engaged less.  In particular 60% those churches that have used MAP1, the MAP review and MAP2 have +ve growth scores compared to 26% of those that didn’t engage at all and 35% of those that just did MAP 1.


Dan Brown the leader of Wadsley Parish Church says “The MAP process has been really helpful for us as a church. It allowed the leadership team to articulate vision and strategy and formulate a simple plan for moving forwards. The MAP process also helped us to keep each other accountable to the tasks and roles that we were allocated to work on. We can see a direct impact on our church as God has worked through the plans that were made Via MAP and MAP 2 as we have grown in our prayerlife, engaged more and more with local schools and young people and as we have welcomed new families into our church congregation.”

According to Vicky Camber (Priest in Charge) “The first MAP at Todwick provided a well-structured framework to build on the vision for the church we had set a couple of years previously. The whole church was involved in the initial consultation, and although we responded to all eight headings, we focussed on three main areas - welcome, children and young people, and communities. Of these, simple actions in welcome have borne fruit, and we have a couple of good community initiatives still thriving as a result. Working towards the Child Friendly Church Award is taking us a little longer. Overall a helpful process that we can keep referring to.” 



Explore the 8 areas of MAP

 Click here for Additional Resources to Support MAPs

A Mission Action Planning Prayer

God of Mission
who alone brings growth to your Church
send your Holy Spirit to give
     vision to our planning
     wisdom to our actions
     and power to our witness.
Help your church to grow
     in numbers
     in spiritual commitment to you
     and in service to your world
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

Adapted from a Leading Your Church into Growth Collect for the From Evidence to Action Conference.


Previous Mission Action Planning Tools

Use the links below to revisit earlier MAP pages and access archived versions of the MAP tools.

Click here to visit the MAP 1 page.    Click here to visit the MAP 2 page.



Need help or advice? Contact the Parish Support team by emailing Lucy Nunn Lucy.Nunn@sheffield.anglican.org or telephoning 01709 309135.