What are we learning from peer reviews?

The first round of 42 peer reviews is now complete and we have moved into a second round of reviews. In this article we set out the key learning points from the peer reviews which took place in 2017.

The Strategy & Development Unit recently looked back at a set of peer reviews and identified some common issues in the suggestions made by reviewers to the diocesan senior team.  While the suggestions made by each panel are unique to that diocese’s situation, the following issues were repeatedly arising in one form or another:

 

•           Deployment planning: there’s an increasingly urgent need to develop new strategies for how best to use skilled people in a way which can both promote mission and be financially sustainable; furthermore, how many paid lay leaders should there be, in what roles?

•           Church planting and fresh expressions: how can senior diocesan teams move from being generally supportive to visible promotion, setting ambitious aspirations and discerning specific opportunities?

•           Priorities, priorities, priorities: there are immense pressures for senior diocesan teams to press forward on many fronts, yet it is often clearer to peer reviewers (as critical friends from outside the diocese) that there is a vital need for senior staff to ‘hold their nerve’ and focus on just a few key priorities, communicating effectively with the right people in the best way.

•           Generosity within discipleship: within the increasing concerns about the state of dioceses’ finances, there was a common call from peer reviewers to see senior staff encourage good teaching on generosity and stewardship, and to adopt best practice tools.