When I mentioned the idea of a 5 year plan for FACT - someone suggested it sounded like something Stalin would come up with in the days of the old Soviet Union. I know I can come across as strict but it's not that terrible I can assure you.
The purpose is to look at what FACT is currently doing and to see whether we want to carry on doing each and every activity ( as time has gone on more things are added in and there comes a point when even with our enthusiasm, it starts to get hard to fit it all in and ensure it's done well ) that we do at present. It's also of course a chance to look at doing some different things.
What was a priority in the past may not be a priority now. Things and circumstances change and we need to be grown up enough in our ecumenical relationships to say that sometimes we need to change too. This isn't going to be a process without some hard decisions, it might be at the end of it some of our own personal cherished projects are dropped in favour of something new.
What is important is that we have a clear list of priorities for the next 5 years and that we are to set targets which we can look back to and see how well we have done. I know this sounds business like, but with the amount of money that our churches are investing in FACT each year, we need to ensure value for money.
It's also true that we need to ensure the greatest take up of each activity we do amongst our memberships and if the current activities aren't doing that, then I am prepared to wager that that's because they aren't what they see as priorities. Hopefully after the discussion and planning meetings, we will have a set of priorities and activities which we can all agree are worth while.
There is also the advantage that we will cost each item in the plan and therefore we should get a firmer picture of what FACT's expenses are going to be across the next 5 years and therefore consequently, how much we need to commit from our own budgets.
The process is as follows - Mid March - The Leaders meet for a day to discuss the "headline priorities" for each year.
Mid April - The Exec meet for a day to flesh out these priorities into actions for the first year
Early May - The Plan in draft form is sent to all churches to allow all members to read and comment
May 11th - FACT AGM discusses and adopts ( hopefully ! )the plan
May 13th - FACT Ascension Day worship - Plan formally signed as part of worship by the Leaders.
A lot of work ( and a lot of prayer and discernment needed ) and I hope it will be a worthwhile experience.