Sunday, 18 September 2022


2030 Vision: People Strategy: Models of Church and Models of Ministry


We start with our vision for every Londoner to hear and experience the gospel of Jesus Christ. This leads us to think and act more audaciously, generously, humbly, diversely, and tenaciously. We must also keep in mind our ambitions – to develop our discipleship and disciple-making, our engagement with the poor and the wellbeing of London as a global city, our growth in numbers and our focus on growing children and young people in a church that reflects the cultural diversity of our localities.

The Church is the people of God, called into being by Jesus Christ, shaped by the Spirit and showing forth the love of the Father. We are the Church of England in London because we stand in continuity with the Church throughout the ages, tracing our origins in scripture, seeking to be true to the inheritance of faith in tradition, and proclaiming that faith afresh in each generation.

This paper seeks, therefore, not so much to explain, as to set down the parameters for the ways in which we seek to “do” church in C21 London. It is taken as read that the manifestations of church which we seek to build and develop must be in continuity with the reformed catholic heritage of the Church of England, based in the faith “revealed in the holy scriptures, and set forth in the catholic creeds, to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness.” These are communities of the baptised where word and sacrament are faithfully proclaimed and celebrated, under the leadership of their Bishop and in communion one with another.

The Church of England’s understanding of how its mission is expressed has always been based on a sense of place, with the parish system and our commitment to the cure of souls made explicit in every service of collation or institution to a benefice. There has, however, always been diversity of provision – cathedrals, peculiars, chapels, extra parochial places, and of course, in London, Guild Churches! The models we spell out in this paper merely build on that diversity. Such diversity is of course not a goal in itself – our goal is to ensure that there is a witness to Christ in every place and an opportunity for all people to hear of Christ and the gospel, become part of a community of faith and access the word of God and the Sacraments. We want to ensure that there are effective churches and other ecclesial units in every community, whether old parish churches or new ones, ancient forms or modern expressions. 

In the context of our understanding of church, therefore, we recognise the need for a multiplication of provision. We have an ambitious growth goal that we have signed up to together by faith to see the diocese grow from 1.6% to 4% of the population and to encourage other churches to grow too so that we can go beyond a tipping point to 20% Christian church attendance by 2030.




Our challenge is therefore to answer two questions

1.       What sort of “models of church” will we develop in order to meet our growth goal?  

This challenge has come from those who are concerned that we are in danger of losing our identity as a Church for England, expressed through the parish system, as well as from those who believe that our reach within the population is so miniscule, with at least 93% of the population not in church, that we must pioneer new ways of connecting with people beyond traditional models.

2.       What sort of ministry is required in order to develop and oversee these varying models of church?

After a period of growth, we have found that we have plateaued and, in some ways, begun to contract. In a rapidly changing society, we must be attentive to the need to change some tried and tested ways which worked for a previous season and change what we do. We must own this need, take the new models seriously and set them alongside what continues to be effective and good in old and trusted patterns.

Models of Church

2030 Vision is for every Londoner – and our policy will continue to be that of encouraging and developing a mixed ecology Church, bringing together both inherited models of ministry (expressed in parish and chaplaincy) and innovative new models.

Parish Churches remain at the core of our understanding of how we serve our city. London is a series of small villages and neighbourhoods, and the concept of “parish” still has real traction, even though people may commute across parish boundaries to attend their church of choice. We will work with parish churches to support their health and viability so that they are not left to struggle on alone where human, spiritual and physical resources are thin. Developing health and viability criteria to help assess where support can best be deployed from limited resources is part of this.

We will continue to put in place measures to support and grow parish churches. We will also develop the distinctive and “eccentric” ministry of central London and City churches.  However, there will be a change in our approach to parishes. The incumbent will retain the cure of souls and the responsibility for occasional offices and pastoral care, but we will seek to facilitate a multiplicity of ministry within geographical parishes. Multisite churches, with oversight leaders sharing responsibility for a number of parishes, will also be part of the strategy.

Overlaying the parish system, and complementary to it, will be other forms of church. 

1.       Network churches – churches which serve people who are not necessarily locality-based, and whose relationships are more network than neighbourhood. Such churches will often cross parochial boundaries and are likely to operate under a Bishop’s Mission Order. Local protocols will be put in place as necessary to define their relationship with the local parish(es).


2.       International Congregations For many of London’s nationality-based, culturally diverse, and linguistically defined groupings, English may be a second language, and such groups may wish to worship in the style and culture of their mother tongue and ethnic group. We will work with such groups and enable those who wish to give Anglican expression to their worship and mission to be incorporated into our parochial structures. It may well be appropriate to designate one centre of ministry and worship for each diaspora congregation. We will also seek to ensure that such congregations maintain a missional purpose beyond that of ministering to a closed group. Alongside this, we are committed to the development of intercultural worship – our belief is that interculturalism is more consonant with the gospel and the Kingdom than the multicultural narrative.


3.       Youth congregations Building on our work with youth minsters, it will sometimes be appropriate to set up separate youth provision in order to evangelise and disciple young people within their own cultural milieu. Normally such congregations will be attached to a parish or network church.


4.       We will continue to pursue a vigorous policy of Church Planting (partnering with a variety of planters) wherever mission opportunity arises, and wherever possibilities can be created. Planting can take many forms, including grafts and revitalisation. Some agents of planting will be designated Resource Churches. Resource Churches can both incubate new ministry and refresh existing ministry, including developing multi-site churches, collecting churches together into networks, giving benefits of scale and opportunities for lay leadership development.


5.       We will experiment with other forms of church. The Church of England has written extensively about Fresh Expressions (defined as “a form of church for our changing culture, established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church.”) In a majority of contexts, a parish that is missional will already be experimenting with what might be categorised as “fresh expressions” – Messy Church, After School clubs, Café Church, Pub Church, etc. For examples see Sometimes a Fresh Expression will emerge outside an existing parochial context, in which case we will consider how best to resource it, give it legal and charitable status, and ensure that it is fully a part of the Church of England, defined by its relationship to the bishop and the Diocese.


6.       Culturally experimental expressions of church – alternative forms of church worship and networks typically suited to generations and culture for whom inherited church patterns of worship don’t work. Formative in their DNA will be (for example) the exploration of new forms of liturgy and other forms of worship; a desire for artistic expression; a sense of shared community; evangelism among peers; and a deep commitment to justice, peace, and creation issues.


7.       Community Ministry has been a crucial and inspiring adjunct to our parish ministry in many urban and estate locations. Mostly it will complement existing patterns of parish life, but sometimes new ecclesial communities will emerge though community ministry initiatives. As well as more traditional forms of community ministry, we are glad to partner with Eden, XLP, and other similar initiatives. This is not a matter of “bringing Jesus” to a place, but seeking out where the kingdom is already growing, and where Christ is already at work.


8.       New areas of housing and new development areas will be places where we look to build Christian community, either via a plant (from the parish church or elsewhere), or via promoting grass-roots growth of a Christian community in situ. We will also work with planters and mission agencies in these areas where they can also add value and resources.

9.       Our Schools offer huge potential for developing new or parallel worshipping communities alongside the parish church. We will work with the LDBS, Academies, and Governing Bodies to explore the development of churches based in some of our schools. (This may also be the key to resourcing new churches in new developments – see (7) above).

10.    We will continue to support and develop Chaplaincy in HE, schools, health care, prisons, the Armed Forces and other significant institutions and workplaces.


11.    Another significant development is that of Missional Communities, defined as communities constituted by a specific missional purpose in relation to a network or a place. These will normally be communities without buildings, defined by relationship, meeting inter alia in homes, cafes, and pubs; designed to be places where those who would be highly unlikely to join institutional church might find faith and be discipled. Missional Communities will operate under a Bishop’s Mission Order and may inhabit a number of localities.


Alongside these twelve different classifications of what it means to be church, we have a wider concern for the re-evangelisation of London and of England.

·         We will work across the spectrum to encourage and train catholic, middle of the road and evangelical parishes towards more outward focus and exploration of planting, as well as looking at ways to revitalise parish life.  

·         We will build alliances with the many London churches where the majority of the leadership and the congregation are people of colour, and with international churches, to develop new forms of church in places where there is a significant concentration of people from different national backgrounds. 

·         We will therefore partner with Holy Trinity Brompton and other planting churches to encourage wider re-evangelisation of England through planting beyond London


It is important for the flourishing of God’s Church in London that we ask about every model

1.       What is the missional intention of the church? How is it seeking to draw people into the mystery of God, to bring them to salvation through Jesus Christ, to equip them to live in the world in the power of the Spirit and to serve the Kingdom of God in the world?

2.       What is the distinctive spirituality of the church? How are people being nurtured, taught the Christian faith, steeped in the sacraments, and helped into the life of prayer?

3.       What is the leadership of the church? How is priestly and diaconal ministry being exercised? How are the whole baptised people of God involved in leadership? Will there be some models of church which will be predominantly lay-led in future?

These are questions which will be addressed through our work together on missional health and growth.

Covid Challenges

Other major questions have emerged during the period of Covid-19. These will need to be addressed and include:

1.       What is the place of digital church in the future? It is likely that worship online will now sit alongside meeting in buildings, and that part of the mixed ecology will include worship and ministry that takes place exclusively in the digital realm. Churches may also co-operate and draw on shared digital resources.

2.       What processes will we put in place in order to review and evaluate the totality of our ministry? How will we measure success? How will we ensure that experiment can take place and be allowed in some cases to fail?

3.       How will we ensure, in an episcopal Church, that we properly balance local autonomy, inventiveness and freedom with the need for accountability, good governance, and adherence to Anglican polity? The Church of England has always held a careful balance between local church expression and wider oversight. It has tended to avoid the congregational impulse that sees the local parish church as the only expression of church life, with absolute autonomy. At the same time, it has tried to avoid the over-centralisation of a system of government which can lead to a dominant central authority and a weakening of local expression. The Church of England is neither a congregational nor a papal church, but an episcopal one. Bishops are expected to exercise oversight over the various parishes in their care, to be “shepherds of Christ’s flock and guardians of the faith of the apostles, proclaiming the gospel of God’s kingdom and leading his people in mission.” They are to be a point of unity, one of the elements that holds parishes together in relationship, rather than seeing them as independent entities, ensuring that “the Church in each place and time is united with the Church in every place and time.”


Episcopal ministry always exists in relation to the local parish. Bishops are to enable and support the work of local parishes rather than disable them. This means there will always be a balance between ensuring that parishes are properly resourced to sustain worship, mission and pastoral care in their local area, and resources available at the episcopal level that enables bishops to exercise oversight and support and encourage parishes more broadly across the diocese.

 The Bishops and Archdeacons and the lay leadership of the Diocese commit themselves to these models of Church as we move towards 2030.



Models of Ministry


A change of mindset

We are committed to changing the leadership paradigm of ‘the vicar does everything’ to leading through others. This will involve a major emphasis on personal redevelopment and training for ‘oversight ministry’ and training and releasing lay leaders. The Grow Course addresses this. That is why we want to encourage every church to do this course.

Planting new congregations and churches increases mission, increases reach, increases diverse options for encountering Jesus, increases the number of leaders, releases new energy into the parish centre church. In practice, every church needs to do this. It requires identifying new leaders, releasing them into leadership of congregations in different contexts and coaching and leading them well using oversight as the principal approach. This needs to be learned and grown in every tradition. This is the 400 New Worshipping Communities programme. (400 is probably not enough).

This will require a whole range of new leaders, some paid, mostly not; full-time or a range of part-time; lay and ordained.

We need to be flexible in our use of resources and release stipends to support a lot more clergy and lay church planters. Planting is not the only way to growth – it is a part of the whole picture. We will affirm and resource what is good in the existing structures as well as enabling the new.





Ordained Ministry

Current Deployment Framework

The Diocese of London distinguishes between:

  • core posts (funded from Common Fund or non-stipendiary – both models are appropriate), to which we would normally re-appoint when they become vacant. These include LSM posts currently funded by a parish or trust where an incumbent on Common Fund would be appointed if the source of funding for the LSM post were to expire. Under our 2030 Vision, all such appointments will be scrutinised and evaluated for ministry and missional impact and effectiveness before an appointment can go ahead.
  • non-core posts (funded from other sources and/or non-stipendiary)
  • contract posts (usually chaplaincy posts, either funded by LDF or by another institution or body)

All posts (whether freehold or common tenure offices or contract posts) will be subject to proper appointment procedures, safer recruitment and Clergy Current Status checks and licensing by the relevant bishop. Mixed ecology church also necessitates the need to develop new models of ministerial leadership as part of or in addition to the existing framework, taking account of the need to develop church planters, chaplains to new communities, and those who are agile in leading other sorts of ecclesial expression. This will include discerning vocations to bi-vocational ministry and lay leadership of churches.

Incumbents (core posts)

In every parish/benefice, we have historically sought to deploy an ordained priest, normally full time (paid or unpaid) with gifts of leadership in mission; a strategist, with gifts of preaching, teaching, and pastoral oversight. As we assess missional health and growth, we will see whether other models beyond that of the single parish incumbent might be more appropriate.

Assistant Clergy (Associate Vicars) (core posts)

Leadership of a subsidiary congregation (whether long-established or newly emerged). These will be priests (or sometimes Licensed Lay Ministers or Commissioned Ministers) with gifts of leadership, preaching, teaching and pastoral oversight. Although the clergy will technically be curates under Common Tenure, they will be known as Associate Vicars, or given other appropriate post titles under Section 99 of the Mission & Pastoral Measure.



Assistant Clergy not in incumbent roles (non-core posts)

Some clergy will not have a different ministerial calling, and will find their ministry in a supporting, assistant role. It is unlikely that such posts will normally be funded through Common Fund (hence the non-core designation).

We will deploy clergy according to their gifts, calling and availability. Some will have their central focus as Assistant Clergy assisting in parishes in a pastoral role (see above). They may be able to give a significant part of their time to this. Others, with a calling as Ministers in Secular Employment (MSEs) will have their main role as priests/deacons in the workplace. Some may serve as Distinctive Deacons, with a specific diaconal role in a parish, chaplaincy, or in the wider community. Bivocational ministers will find themselves exploring a dual role in which their calling in the world/workplace and their calling in the Church will be explored and fine-tuned as God leads them.

Locally Supported Ministers (LSMs) (non-core posts)

Parishes where there is capacity (and where a proper and agreed level of contribution is being made to Common Fund) may take on additional clergy in assistant roles. The stipend, oncosts and housing for these posts will be the entire responsibility of the parish. Such clergy will either be on Common Tenure or will be employed by the parish. LSM agreements will be negotiated with the parish for those on Common Tenure. LSM posts may also be established in order to provide priestly oversight of church plants and new missional communities.

Clergy with Permission to Officiate

We are grateful for the ministry of those who hold PTO in the Diocese. PTOs fall into two main categories – those whose main focus of ministry is in another diocese and operate with PTO in the Diocese of London as an adjunct to their primary ministry, and those who are retired but still wish to offer diaconal or priestly ministry. PTOs are not covered by Common Tenure, and do not carry the obligations of beneficed or licensed clergy. If a PTO wishes to be attached to the staff of a parish as their main focus of ministry, or to be deployed, it will be more appropriate for them to be licensed as an Assistant in that parish.

Chaplaincy Posts

“Chaplaincy” here includes Chaplaincy in Higher Education; Chaplaincy to institutions and workplaces; Chaplaincy among groups serving particular ethnic and national groups; and other miscellaneous expressions of chaplaincy work within the Diocese. Chaplaincy with the Armed Forces, Health Care Chaplaincy and Prison Chaplaincy tend to operate within their own framework of organisation. Oversight of chaplaincy rests with the relevant Area Bishop, subject to budgetary provision being authorised.


Remuneration and Housing

The category of SSM (Self-Supporting Minister) is an unhelpful one. We do not distinguish between clergy on the basis of whether they receive a stipend or not. We also do not use the separate category of SSM House for Duty, which is used by some Dioceses, but which is confusing. The housing arrangements for SSM clergy are a matter for negotiation on a case-by-case basis. Where housing is provided for the better performance of their duties, this will be reflected in their Statement of Particulars under Common Tenure.

Action Plan

We will make these models a normal part of our ministerial practice

1.       Bishops, Archdeacons, Directors of Mission and Area Deans will commit themselves to a conversation with every parish and ecclesial community to identify their plans for growth and multiplication and the mechanism by which that will be put into practice – proposals which will be put into the Area and Deanery Plans


2.       There will be early scrutiny of all parishes where a vacancy is anticipated e.g., through retirement, prior to the vacancy occurring.  


3.       With the Directors of Ordinands and Lay Ministry, we will work to

·         Diversify vocational routes

·         Promote Peter Stream and Caleb Stream more widely

·         Explore how pioneer ministry should be developed

·         Be intentional about the development of the lay leadership of churches

·         Retrain clergy to enable them to become oversight ministers

·         Diversify our development approach as spelt out in the paper Discernment and Vocations Policy – with a particular emphasis on diversifying the paradigm. The current model entails selection for ordination – (2) training in TEI – (3) deployment in curacy (5 – 7 years to become a vicar) New models might include: (1) deployment with appropriate supervision – (2) training on the job with modular approach – (3) selection on evidence basis: commission, authorisation, license, ordination

·         Develop some exploratory cohorts and track their progress

This requires nothing less than a complete transformation in the way in which we pray, discern, and deploy those committed to our pastoral charge – and the way in which we imagine Church for the decade. We resolve together that this is how we will work.





  1. Thanks, + Pete for this. Some years ago you sent me information to support my Durham Univeristy research on Anglo-Catholic Church Planting. I have now been awarded my Doctorate. My thesis is available here: In many ways the recommendations resonate with your views. Happy to engae privately further at

  2. Congratulations! I'll have a read. Thank you.