2.1 The Act requires that the Presbytery, the Forum and the General Trustees (‘the Trustees') work together to prepare and approve an Approved Mission Plan. Each Presbytery must have an Approved Mission Plan in place no later than 31 December 2022 (1.1.1(c); 2.0).
2.2 There is provision in the Act for Presbyteries who are working towards a union to develop a shared Mission Plan which can be approved ahead of the date of union. This builds in the wider possibilities for reshaping church life, which is provided by the removal of Presbytery boundaries and the using of Ministry posts across a wider area: for example, they provide a specialised ministry across the whole of the "new" Presbytery.
Once approved, the Mission Plan must be implemented.
2.3 Each year, the Mission Plan must be evaluated and developed in rolling form so that it remains an accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date Mission Plan for the shape of church life in the next five years, recognizing that a rapidly changing world requires the Church to adapt and review its mission.
2.4 The Act states the purposes for which it was enacted in its preface. This preface should be referred to whenever the Act is interpreted or applied. In short, the driver is the effective mission of the local church as measured against the ‘Five Marks of Mission' (see also 1.1.1 (i) and (n); 2.2.1) and this Guidance. If it cannot be reasonably demonstrated that a proposed Presbytery Mission Plan (PMP) furthers the effective mission of the local church, then it does not satisfy the basic requirement of the Act.
2.4 The Act provides the Presbytery, the Forum and the Trustees with the means to:
- Prepare a Mission Plan (2.1-2.2)
- Approve a Mission Plan so that it becomes an Approved Mission Plan (2.2.6)
- Evaluate and develop a Mission Plan (2.4)
- Implement a Mission Plan (4-10)
2.5 A Mission Plan may be reviewed on limited grounds by a Mission Plan Review Panel (3; Schedule).
2.6 In summary, the PMP Act requires the Presbytery to use its knowledge, experience and understanding to make decisions and take actions by the end of 2022 and each year thereafter. It also offers the Presbytery a wide range of options to reshape church life within its bounds. In doing so, it must work with and obtain the approval of the Forum and the General Trustees. The Presbytery, the Forum and the Trustees must act in accordance with Church law, follow a fair and reasonable process and consider all, but only, relevant material facts. Please take note of what is said below on Consultation and Partnership
2.7 The General Trustees are a key part of this process, and further information on their work can be found on the General Trustees Building and Property Resources page. Some Presbyteries are working with the General Trustees' Land and Property Toolkit and others have appointed, or are exploring the appointment of, a Buildings Officer who will be a critical part of the process.
MDS: Ministries Development Staff
PPMA: Presbytery Mission Plan Act, Act VIII, 2021
PPTG: Presbytery Planning Task Group (in Faith Nurture Forum)
OLM: Ordained Local Minister