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Planning Frameworks
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Planning and discernment in context work together. Our related article 'Is planning "old hat" for church planting and fresh expressions of church' summarised the shift in emphasis amongst planters and pioneers, from detailed advanced planning to discernment in context. The Mission Shaped Church Report highlighted this. (p. 24)


Now the background principles here (again well developed in the Mission-shaped Church report) are that missionary engagement with our diverse contexts should lead to all sorts of fresh expressions of church. And too much detailed advance planning can tend to lead us to replicate aspects of church as we know it, rather than allow authentic contextual church to emerge through an incarnation, death and resurrection process. Certainly this adventure of letting go of so many superficial assumptions about church, taking only the gospel of Jesus and a few core essentials of church requires us to focus much more on discernment in context and to learn skills associated with spiritual direction.

However, we believe that it would be dangerous to set discernment against planning and dispense with planning. At the simplest level, a cafe church vision as it emerges needs a budget, a childrens church needs to plan child protection, any fresh expression needs to plan training of its team and work out its values.

planningoldhat.jpgSo our resolution of this developing polarisation is to bring together planning and discernment in what we would describe as phased planning. We maybe don’t need detailed advanced planning, but we do need lots of short-term plans that enable us to implement effectively and responsibly the most recent insights and direction that we gain from discernment (itself drawing on both well researched information as well as revelation!). The following diagram seeks to illustrate how we think these two disciplines need to be held together in a dynamic missional journey.

So what frameworks and analogies have been used by pioneers and planters? And which axes ones best to this developing insight of a marriage between discernment in context and some advanced planning. To consider this and provide you with an outline of the options - here are the ones we know of, with references. We have included a short critique of each which you can assess yourself.

Some of the analogies allow for more flexibility and hence for a greater contribution for discernment or listening for mission. 

Read on for a critique of 6 Planning Frameworks, plus links to related resources.
  1. Lifecycle of a Reproducing Church
  2. Yeast Cell Multiplication
  3. The Tree
  4. Johan Lukasse (and his framework from his book 'Church without roots'
  5. Bob Hopkins - a possible framework from the gospels
  6. The G.E.T.O.N. & S.A.F.E frameworks from Fresh Expressions

Resources available:


listeningformission.jpg   missionshapedchurch.jpg
Listening for Mission Mission-Shaped Church Report ACPI Workbook: Frameworks & Analogies 
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