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Community Service Plan

Stage 1 - Process



The purpose of this first stage of the Mission Plan is to set out the process by which it is intended that the Plan should take shape, consultation take place, and decisions made.


The Community around Zion - Definition

The community that Zion church primarily serves is taken to be West Boston, north and west of the railway, but excluding Fenside. This is the area for which data has been collected and where it is intended that consultation should be focussed. Other options would be to include Fenside ward, or not to define a local area at all, but acknowledge that we draw people from all over the town, and indeed the wider Borough. An analysis of the addresses in the church directory shows that only 40% of the people named in the directory have an address in 'West Boston'. However if we decided to identify with the wider town area rather than the local area, it would be more difficult to focus our efforts and we may also be duplicating the role of Centenary church. If we include Fenside, we need to consider the position with St. Christopher's and also whether we currently have the resources to cope with it.


Plan Stages

There are eight stages to the making of the plan (as set out in the Methodist Mission Planning tool kit):


1. Decide on a process – (the subject of this stage).


2. Community Audit. We need to understand the nature of the local community and what it is like to live in the area for various different groups of people.

3.  Conduct a Church Review. This includes identifying what we do well, what the congregation is passionate about, and what human, physical and financial resources we have to offer.  

4. Dream Together. We need to dream positively about the future, thinking afresh about how we can match what the church has to offer to the community needs identified in stage 2.

5. Choose Priorities. After the dreaming, ideas need to be sifted and prioritised. Too many priorities mean no priorities.

6. Identify Actions. Decide on specific actions – some short term, others will take time.

7. Consider the Fruit.  Consider the difference we hope our actions will make, so that we can later judge what is working and what isn't. This will inform a plan review.

8. Set a Date for Review. Suggest a year or 18 months after finalising the first plan.

The making of the Community Service Plan appears to fall naturally into two parts - A & B:

A Stages 2 and 3 are primarily concerned with the gathering of information about the past and the present.

B  The later stages involve looking to the future with imagination, creative thinking and decision making, informed by stages 2 and 3 and all subject to, and interlinked, by prayer.


Thorough consultation is a vital and fundamental part of the process. That consultation needs to be with the congregation, users of Zion's meeting rooms, members of the local community and other voluntary and community organisations, including the local council. A meeting with councillors representing local wards has already been arranged for 29th March 2022. Generally, consultation works best when there are draft findings, proposals or questions to respond to. But in some circumstances direct input by those most concerned will be more appropriate. Also it must be considered if a separate consultation exercise will be needed at every stage, or whether it would be more effective and more time efficient for consultations to relate to groups of stages.


Consultation Methods

Consultation will need the preparation of written material informing people of the purpose of the Mission Plan, plus a questionnaire guiding the form of response. Clearly it must be concise in order to engage with consultees.

This material can be circulated, and responses sought, in various ways:

  Material supplied direct to all people on the Church Directory and to all people with an active role in the Boston Circuit.

  A leaflet drop to addresses in the local community. There are well over 3,000 residential addresses in 'West Boston', which is probably more than the church has the capacity 'in house', to deliver. Royal Mail deliveries can be arranged, but RM can only deliver on a scale which would be much greater than required – to over 10,000 addresses, costing £688. The church could carry out sample deliveries to (say) 600 homes – 200 in each ward. Despite obvious difficulties, paper deliveries do have the advantage of ensuring a connection is made with people locally. 


  Chat to people at regular church events such as Drop-in and Cameo, and fill the questionnaire in for them.        

  Organise a church community day with activities, refreshments and an exhibition. Questionnaires could be filled in at the event, or taken away to complete and return later. There is the possibility that this option could involve much work for little return. 


  The church could take a charity stall in the market, or a stall at an event organised by another charity.      


   Full background papers, a summary and questionnaire to be made available on the church website.


  A summary and questionnaire to be posted on the Facebook page.


  Seek publicity through local papers and radio stations



·  That draft papers be approved by the Mission and Outreach Committee for stages 1, 2 and 3, with the Church Review (stage 3) being based upon as many conversations with church members as possible.
·  An initial consultation process then be held involving all interested parties, with an accent on identifying social needs in the local community which our church might be able to respond to.
·   Following a one month period of consultation, the first 3 stages of the plan can then be amended as appropriate and submitted for approval to the Mission and Outreach Committee and Church Council.
·   An open 'dreaming' event be held, preceded by a prayer meeting, at which attendees will be encouraged to identify ways in which the church might respond to identified local need. Also, the four elements of 'Our Calling' to be considered. All interested parties to be invited. (Stage 4)

·   A paper then be prepared, sifting suggestions, recommending priorities and actions, and measures of success for each action (ie covering stages 5, 6 and 7 above), to be approved by Mission and Outreach Committee and Church Council.

·    A second period of consultation be held with the congregation and all interested parties on the above proposals, followed by reconsideration and amendment of the plan.

·    The final plan and review timing be approved by Mission and Outreach Committee and Church Council.

·    Details of consultation methods be determined at a later time, prior to each of the two consultation rounds


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