Put away the map and chart a different course
‘How did you get here today?’ A seemingly ordinary question. Yet, when someone asked it during a CMS pioneer training session, it kicked off an extraordinary conversation. It was only a couple of weeks into the programme, but one woman, Andrea, from London described how she was already bored with travelling the same route to Oxford every week. So that morning, she had tried a different way. She was not alone. Pretty much every one else said the same thing; they had turned off their sat navs or GPS and changed their routes. Just to explore. Just to see what happens when you don’t pick the quickest or easiest route. As one person said, “Who knows what you’ll find?”
And in a sense, that is what pioneering mission is about. You may know the direction you wish to go, but you would like to get there in a less-travelled, more creative way. You want to listen and learn and try things that perhaps have not been tried before. For you, the journey is just as important as the destination.
If this resonates with you, then consider taking part in the CMS Pioneer Mission Leadership Training Course.
Who is this course for?
The CMS Pioneer Mission Leadership Training Course is open to people across denominations. Currently, there is a wide age range represented in the programme. Participants have been involved with traditional and non-traditional church plants, comedy clubs, creating spaces for spiritual seekers, and working with homeless and broken people, just to name a few.
What does the course involve?
In summary, most people do the course over three years. In such cases, a year typically includes:
- one day a week at CMS in Oxford (about 25 days a year)
- a residential week
- two weekends visiting other communities or a placement with another community
- a retreat
If you are pursuing the ordained route, there are an additional six weekends and a residential week with the Oxford Ministry Course (OMC) each year.
The Centre for Pioneer Learning exists to send out, resource and support generations of pioneers who will help transform lives, communities and the Church.
The foundation of our training is the gathering of the pioneers every Friday morning for specific pioneer training, support and development. There is a strong emphasis on practical experience with opportunities to work in local, national and international fresh expressions of church.
There is also a strong emphasis on mission which is mainly taught by acclaimed missiologist Revd Dr Paul Weston. Revd Dr Adrian Chatfield, who is a member of the national Fresh Expression team, brings experience in mission spirituality and the relationship between the Anglican tradition and fresh expressions.
Pioneers are able to pursue an appropriate accredited academic course with Ridley College. Most pioneer students pursue a full-time course but we also offer mixed-mode study which enables you to carry on working in a pioneer situation for half of your time plus half time study, which will mainly be at Ridley Hall but will include some local academic supervision.
For more information, visit the Centre for Pioneer Learning website.
As well as being committed to providing rigorous training for ordained pioneer ministers, Cranmer Hall believes that the cultural and ecclesiological context into which we will deploy all our students demands that all are able to understand and engage in pioneering mission initiatives and the planting of new churches. As such, the training and formation of ordinands at Cranmer Hall includes a significant focus on being equipped for pioneering ministries.
All ordinands will undertake an agreed combination of elements of our pioneer curriculum, which is set out below. Alongside this they will have the opportunity to experience placements with fresh expressions of church and to focus on an aspect of fresh expressions or pioneer ministry in their BA or MA dissertation. OPMs undertaking residential training at Cranmer Hall will have a formation plan that includes all components of the pioneer curriculum as part of a BA or MA, as well as a block placement with a fresh expression of church and an in-depth tutorial focus on formation for pioneering ministry.
You can find more details, including a booklet outlining Cranmer Hall’s approach to formation and training for pioneering ministries, on the Cranmer Hall website.
The Eastern Region Ministry Course offers a pathway for ordained pioneer ministry training which will involve:
- supervised contextual practice with an experienced pioneer minister;
- a specially designed placement with a pioneer minister;
- a full range of training modules with opportunities to focus on Christian engagement with post modern society;
- modules to assist reflective practice on what it is to be a pioneer minister;
- access to mission shaped ministry courses as part of training;
- a special easter residential school in Cambridge with others training for pioneer ministry.
ERMC is a vibrant and diverse community training for ministry. Part-time training is ideal for those committed to existing employment and ministry. We have a passion for making connections between faith and life.
The Lancashire and Cumbria Theological Partnership can offer a course which has the option to include three validated mission shaped ministry modules. They are all at level four and are titled, Preparing and planting a fresh expression of church, Christian formation in fresh expressions of church, and Sustaining a fresh expression of church.
If you successfully achieve the award University Certificate this can be carried and used to contribute towards another award, for example:
- Certificate in Higher Education;
- Foundation Degree or Diploma in Higher Education;
- BA (Hons) in Practical Theology.
St John’s was itself a pioneer in developing Mixed Mode training and this has been a popular route for OPM ordinands. We are unique in offering a course which goes from vocation-testing through to incumbency-readiness. In other words, you don’t do a curacy after you finish training with us; you do it at the same time – it’s part of your training with St John’s. And for some students that ‘lay curacy’ is in a fresh expression, which often our students have played a key part in starting. We are passionate about the interplay of parish context and college learning because we believe it enhances both personal high academic standards and high quality contextual reflection.
Mission has long been at the heart of training at St John’s and we work hard to make multi-dimensional mission-thinking central to all aspects of learning here. The college was founded to train people for ordained ministry who didn’t fit the normal mould for Victorian clergy and the ethos of widening access has continued to this day. As a result of this, a good many of those who leave St John’s go on into pioneer ministries even when they have not been designated Ordained Pioneer Ministers on entry. All our students, whether or not they are pioneer candidates, have the opportunity to engage in a fresh expression placement.
St Mellitus College offers a mixed mode route for those in training for ordained pioneer ministry. Students engage in supervised work for roughly half of their time in a mission context (fresh expression or local church etc.). They study in the other half of their time, through one day a week in west London, seven residential weekends and one residential week per year. Candidates can study for a three year BA in contextual theology with Middlesex University, or (for theology graduates) a two year MA with King’s College London. The course focuses on different aspects of missional leadership.
Oak Hill College has a dedicated Pioneer Ministries module which is embedded into its training programme for Anglican ordinands.
Ordinands who have been selected for Pioneer Ministry will study the main, core elements of their academic programme alongside all other students (e.g. Biblical Studies, Doctrine, Apologetics, Youth Culture and Mission) and will also take part in placements, chaplaincies and missions alongside their peers. At the same time, the dedicated Pioneer Ministries module will allow them to reflect upon an area of pioneering ministry in which they are already engaged and to develop their skills in research and analysis through the development of a substantial dossier.
Located just inside the M25, Oak Hill College is ideally placed to make the best of the exciting opportunities that London offers for innovative patterns of ministry in a vibrant, multi-cultural context. It also offers students the opportunity to study alongside those who are preparing for specialist ministries in Youth Work and Mission, as well as those preparing for pastoral ministry in a variety of contexts. Most of all, it offers a commitment to deep, broad and integrated theological study that will equip you for a lifetime of ministry in an ever-changing world.
The STETS BA and MA programmes approach Scripture and theology in a mission-orientated way, which is contextual, culturally sensitive and aware of new developments in ecclesiology. Ordained pioneer ministry students follow a tailored pathway, planned in the light of their prior learning and experience. This ensures that they receive a focussed, but comprehensive ministerial education.
Experienced practitioners appointed by STETS supervise weekly OPM training and pioneer-orientated placements. Specialised developing ministry modules guide students and mentors in this work and ensure that it integrates fully with the academic programmes. Regular residential training events provide times for learning, friendship and mutual enrichment.
SEITE offers a context-focused pathway for training in Ordained Pioneer Ministry that enables our students to reflect on the practice of pioneer ministry whilst engaging in rigorous theological study within a diverse community of ministerial formation. Features of the programme include:
- specialist placement modules in fresh expressions of church, with mission accompaniment by established experts in the field;
- part-time, non-residential training, which is ideal for those committed to existing employment and established ministries;
- mid-week and weekend components, with teaching centres both in London and Kent
All students are given teaching and training in pioneer ministry and Mission-shaped Church (church planting, fresh expressions, new ways of being church, etc.). But there is also specific input for those in training to be ordained pioneer ministers, in terms of tutorials, personal encouragement from tutors and placement/mission opportunities. The College has close partnerships with the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA) and the Church Mission Society (CMS), both of which enrich their training of pioneer ministers.
The Yorkshire Ministry Course recogises that ordinands recommended for ordained pioneer ministry start training already with significant experience of pioneer ministry. It provides training in a wider field of theological and ministerial studies to equip them with the core components of a theologically reflective ministry, including study of Scripture, Christian history and doctrine, liturgy and worship, spirituality, practical theology and Christian ethics. Then, secondly, it provides ways in which they can relate all of this to the pioneer ministry they expect to exercise in the future. These include the following:
- pioneer ministry related assignments within the different modules, including a profile of the home church community from which the ordinand comes;
- dedicated reflection groups for pioneer ordinands;
- two major placements in related contexts with accompanying reflection modules;
- participation in one or two related modules at Wilson Carlile College of Evangelism, which is a national centre for pioneer ministry and a partner institution within the Yorkshire RTP;
- a related research project, with supervision often provided by staff at WCCE.
It is the three year package as a whole, which includes worship and community life of students and staff together, which provides the necessary balance between spiritual, intellectual, emotional and practical formation.
For further details please visit the Yorkshire Ministry Course website.