This stage is designed to help the church to explore the purpose and character of the church God is calling them to be. This might also be called the vocation of the church.
This stage may be omitted from the lifecycle if the church is moving straight from a previous cycle of the MAP process into a new one and the church is still confident of the answers to the questions contained in it. However, it should always be included when MAP is new or unfamiliar, or where a church needs to re-address the questions contained in it.
The church will explore two key questions that will help them to understand and support the changes that the MAP process brings by showing why they are necessary. These questions are not concerned with the activities of the church. Consequently, they can lead to frustration because ‘we’re just talking and not doing’. However, a good understanding throughout the church of the answers to these questions is vital. It is central to deciding the priorities of the church’s activities and in helping them to understand the reason for the changes that are to come. This exploration may require a significant change in hearts and minds, which always takes time.
Rushing beyond this stage before it is completed will often lead to failure and disillusionment, making the MAP process ineffective and any future work in this area much harder. It is important to allow plenty of time for this stage, enabling the church to reflect and to come to their own understanding, rather than just having the answers presented.
These questions can be explored through the creative use of Scripture in a combination of the following, or by other means appropriate to the church:
- times of prayer and reflection
- church away days, weekends or other events
- Sunday preaching
- small group work
These are the questions that the church will engage with in this stage.
What is the purpose of God’s Church?
This question is about why the Church of Jesus Christ exists. What are we here for? This could be described as the overall vocation or call of God’s Church.
For many churches, this exploration will involve moving from an inward-looking focus, where the church exists primarily to serve the needs and desires of those inside it, to an outward-looking focus, where the church exists primarily to worship God and to love and serve those around it, sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ and seeing God’s Kingdom grow.
What is the character of God’s Church?
This question is about who God is calling His Church to be. What attitudes and behaviours should we expect to see in God’s Church? This could be described as a set of values for God’s church.
For many churches, this exploration will involve careful reflection over what is important to them and seeing whether this accords with God’s calling for them.
You may find the following extra resources helpful during this stage:
- Prayer and Worship Resources
Some ideas and models to help keep prayer and worship at the centre of the MAP for Derby Diocese process.
- What is Mission?
A resource to help PCCs or small groups explore what is meant by the word 'mission' and what that means for the church.
- The Five Marks of Mission
A resource to help the church explore the five marks of mission, as defined by the Anglican Consultative Council.
For further help or information on any aspect of using MAP for Derby Diocese, please contact:
Rev. Jason Kennedy, Diocesan Missioner
Derby Church House