God's call for your church

Parish Planning Tool packsHelping you to discern, implement and evaluate your vision and strategic direction

Parish Development Advisors are part of the Department of Mission and Minstry and work with the bishop and archdeacon of each Area in the diocese to support and enable mission and ministry. We work closely with our area Discipleship Enabler colleagues and the young people's and children's advisers, church/school relationship adviser and generous giving adviser.

The PDAs offer:

PDAs work with clergy, PCCs, ministry/leadership teams, parishes, benefices and deaneries in many different contexts. You'll find more information below, and PDAs would welcome a conversation at any time to discuss your context.


Helping you to discern, explore, implement and evaluate your vision and strategic direction.

This work takes time. A PDA will work with you through the process in a way that is most appropriate in your context.

This might include:

  • reviewing your effectiveness in mission and ministry;
  • reviewing or developing a plan for mission and ministry and its implementation;
  • facilitating an away day.
Parish Planning Tool (PPT)
Noticing what God is already doing and when your church and community is at its best is at the heart of the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) model, which forms the basis for the Parish Planning Tool.

The feedback from churches which have already begun the PPT process is overwhelmingly good. Here is what some have said:

"It was a real blessing to have the children integrated and participating as part of our church family."

"It has been a privilege to be a part of this vision process."

"It was a really exciting session where everyone worked so well together. Lots to take into the design phase."

"Thank you so much for making last Saturday at Bradwell so successful."

"We had a wonderfully fun and creative time together."

PDAs can help you plan and facilitate one or more events to begin working through the PPT process together, whatever the size or context of your church(es).

When your vicar is leaving, your PDA will contact the churchwardens or PCC to arrange a meeting to explain the process and offer you support. The PDA will work with the parish/benefice and deanery structures throughout the process.

The support PDAs offer includes helping you to:

  • review who you are as a parish/benefice;
  • think about your future direction;
  • discern and articulate the particular gifts and skills you hope to find in your new priest;
  • guidance on the preparation of the parish/benefice profile and the person specification.
For more information, please contact your area PDA or visit the Handling Vacancies page.

PCCs, DCCs and other church councils are crucial to the life and leadership of the local church.

PDAs work with your church leadership team (eg PCC, DCC, church council) to:

  • clarify your purpose and role;
  • work effectively together;
  • induct new members of the team;
  • facilitate an away day to focus on development or vision;
  • advise on issues such as chairing meetings, setting agendas and good practice in meetings.
Team building

PDAs work with teams of different sizes and areas of focus to increase their effectiveness.

This might include working on:

  • team dynamics;
  • effective communication and delegation;
  • conflict resolution and troubleshooting;
  • collaborative working;
  • developing appropriate power and authority structures;
  • understanding how to release gifts/ministries within others.
Developing lay ministry

Everyone has gifts and abilities, and we are all called to use these gifts and abilities together for the growth of God's kingdom.

PDAs can work with colleagues to lead and facilitate away days, quiet days etc to help you:

  • identify and evaluate your gifts, skills and resources;
  • work together more collaboratively;
  • facilitate training for lay pastoral visitors;
  • grow in faith and discipleship;
  • identify and enable candidates for authorised ministries.
Ministry Accompaniment
The Diocese of Oxford is committed to supporting clergy.
PDAs work with the diocesan Ministry Accompaniers' network to offer mentoring, coaching and work consultancy to all clergy licensed within the diocese. To explore working with a Ministry Accompanier, clergy can contact their area PDA.
PDAs visit all clergy when they are new in post to make arrangements for focused Ministry Accompaniment with your PDA for the first year of the new post.

A growing, developing faith is vital for any church’s health.

PDAs can help you (as a church and as an individual) consider:

  • which nurture programme is best for you;
  • useful resources for small groups;
  • taking time out to listen to God better, perhaps on a quiet day;
  • taking a retreat;
  • getting more advice and support from our diocesan Everyday Faith team and area Discipleship Enablers.

You might also find it beneficial to explore the offerings of Oxford Anglican Cursillo, which offers weekends away and short courses designed to provide opportunities to grow in faith and discover the meaning of life in Christ.

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions of Church (fxC) are new and different ways of being church for the 21st century. Some of the more widely known fxC are Messy Church, cafe church and seeker church.

PDAs can:

  • listen to your needs and ideas;
  • help you think creatively about your context and how you could do church differently;
  • give you some examples of what other parishes/churches are doing;
  • help you plan to start a fxC;
  • put you in contact with diocesan support team for growing new congregations.
Rural church

Particular challenges face our rural churches, most of which are in multi-parish benefices.

PDAs can facilitate discussions about:

  • the role of the incumbent, shared ministry and leadership;
  • the use of buildings;
  • governance;
  • resources aimed at enabling rural churches to think creatively about their mission and their future.

The Revd Charles Chadwick, PDA for Dorchester, leads our work on the rural church.

See also:



Rural issues



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Recovery & rebuilding

Advice on reflecting and discerning the way forward as we look past lockdown.

Ecumenism & interfaith relations

Diocesan support for engaging with Christian denominations and local faith communities.

How to welcome

Advice on creating a welcoming church environment.

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