ok that is not the most exciting blog post title so well done if you got beyond the title! but last night i spoke at a deanery synod in bournmouth on the theme of reimagining the church which is part of the focus of winchester diocese. for those not in the church of england a deanery is an area grouping of churches. at one level deanery synod neither sounds nor is the most exciting event on the planet. but what was both interesting and surprising last night was that the group planning strategy for the deanery presented a paper on their vision for the future which was fully supported bar one abstention for one quarter of the posts in the deanery (4 out of 16) being focused on pioneering in mission. this has a way to go before formally becoming policy with money allocated and so on. but imagine if every deanery in the country were able to imagine its mission and ministry in this way - it would significantly change the landscape. further the vision for these posts was not for all ordained either - the pioneering posts in particular may be lay or ordained.
mission shaped church is now over a decade old but on page 136 of that report is a section entitled the strategic role of deaneries which suggests that one of the best ways to recalibrate towards mission especially in the nitty gritty of the allocation of resources for mission is to think and plan in terms of deaneries. so it's great to see this actually happening (i realise it has elsewhere in some cases too - i have been impressed with the way bath and wells diocese have created pioneer posts through organising team or deanery ministry). there is so little will and imagination in many places towards the reallocation of resources for pioneering mission so this made a refreshing change and i hope it's indicative of the way the church as a whole might think to shift it's focus. would it be too much to ask that a quarter of funded posts in the church were outward focused in mission?