The Priority of Mission
4.1 Mission in the local church is the beating heart of the Act. A draft Mission Plan which does not demonstrably prioritise mission will not be approved.
4.2 Section 2.1.1 of the Act states the overarching purpose of the whole Mission Planning process – to shape and resource the Church's engagement with Christ's Mission. "Mission" is defined in section 1.1(n) with reference to the Church's Five Marks of Mission. That definition is supplemented by this, and subsequent, guidance. The "Five Marks of Mission" are restated in the Act at section 1.1(l).
"Shape of church life" is defined in section 1.1(r). This covers every aspect of local church life for which the Presbytery is responsible.
Section 2.1.1 also sets out the four principal requirements which must be met to achieve the purpose of Presbytery Mission Planning. Broadly, these relate to local mission, territorial ministry, use of ministry posts and new ways of being church. However, there is no substitute for reading and applying these carefully. When the Presbytery seeks approval for the Mission Plan, it must be able to demonstrate that it has met these requirements.
4.3 The General Trustees are required to advise on the suitability of church buildings (1.1(g)) for that Mission. Presbyteries are required to categorise buildings into one of two categories:
a) To be retained beyond the five years from the date at which the Mission Plan is approved or annually reviewed, or;
b) To be sold, let or otherwise disposed of by a specified date which is within five years from the date at which the ecclesiastical building is first categorised as (b).