A cairn is a balanced pile of rocks marking a significant event or place. We read in scripture that Jacob and his kinsfolk built a cairn as a witness, a memorial to an event of great import, the place where a covenant and a boundary was agreed (Genesis 31:4552).

The building and balancing of cairn stones requires patience, skill, physical, and sometimes emotional, effort. Each rock can signify an intention, something to remember, be thankful for, treasure or discard. A cairn can indicate a place of passing, a way-marker signalling you’re on the right track, or point to a turn in the trail. They identify land boundaries, or note where water or other resources for living can be found; and they can represent a summit or achievement. They can be burial monuments, reflecting an ending, sadness and grief; but also places of new beginning. And, cairns have been built to commemorate a remarkable moment – even those places where an individual meets with God (Genesis 28:18).


MDR: a significant and regular cairn in our vocation

As disciples of Christ and followers of the way, we who have been called by God to an ordained ministry need such stopping places at which to reflect, regroup and re-source, and the Ministry Development Review (MDR) can be a significant and regular cairn in our vocation. The process happens every two years, and provides time in which to look back at what has been, and how you have come to the present moment. It’s a place in which to take stock of the here and now, in which to pray and seek who God would have you become, what more, or less, he would have you do. If patiently and skilfully applied, MDR can offer space in which to give thanks; it can help you to recognise things you should let go, identify grief for that which has not come to fruition, or that which has caused damage – and suggest where you might best express that pain and receive support. 


MDR: a spiritual tool for your personal and vocational growth and development

But an MDR can also confirm you’re in the right place, or signpost a new and exciting direction – in the role you now have, or elsewhere. It can help identify where boundaries need to be set, maybe for wellbeing purposes, and where resources of support, nurture and growth can be found to enable a continuing or new flourishing in ministry. An MDR can be a spiritual tool for your personal and vocational growth and development, a place where you can meet with God to look at your vocation, and then, together with another person, form intentions or objectives that will help you to move forward, until you reach the next marker or MDR cairn.

At the foot of this page you will find the MDR material, with Guidance Notes to introduce the process and its raison d'être. You will find the form itself, and a document to complete which provides details of what your intentions for the next 18–24 months might be, what the outcomes of the MDR might look like on the ground. There is a Role Description template, which will help you to boundary your work more appropriately, and a Wellbeing Checklist to help identify areas of stress and burnout. Finally, there’s an evaluation of the process where you can feedback to us its helpful and negative aspects.

If you have a query about the date or time of your next MDR, please contact the PA of whomever is conducting your review.

If you have any questions about the MDR process itself, please contact the Revd Jackie Johnson, your Wellbeing and CMD Officer via email or by calling 07590 95 00 40. 

Guidance Notes for Your Ministerial Development Review: 2020 & 2021

Your Ministerial Development Review Preparation Form: 2020 & 2021

Intentions or Outcomes following MDR in 2020 & 2021

Role Description template: 2020 & 2021

Wellbeing Checklists - MDR: 2020 & 2021

Feedback on the Review Process and Your Reviewer form: 2020 & 2021