'Pioneers are not just dreamers, they are ‘dreamers who do’, capable of turning dreams into reality, or at least taking the risk to try and do so. Pioneers draw in others to do this. They are leaders capable of gathering people round a vision for a new missional venture and facilitating the ministry of that team to bring something new to birth.'
2004’s Mission Shaped Church Report identified the need for a new type of minister, a Pioneer able to enable new missional forms of church for a changing culture.
Since then many of Fresh Expressions denominational partners have sought to develop Pioneer Ministry in their streams, both in a lay and ordained capacity.
BAPTIST UNION OF GREAT BRITAIN
‘Equipped to Pioneer is a part-time training is for anyone in Baptist churches involved in pioneer ministry and church planting. ‘Equipped to Pioneer’ consists of 10 core modules, five of which are offered by Baptist Colleges (sometimes in conjunction with associations) and five by the Crucible Course, which is facilitated by Urban Expression and other partners including the Incarnate Network, the Northumbria Community and BMS World Mission.
CHURCH OF ENGLAND
The Church of England offer a variety of training opportunities for lay and ordained, including Mixed Ecology training Head here to find out more about the different pathways to pioneering within the Church of England and check out the links below to colleges and training centres offering a variety of courses from certificates to PHD’s as well as Ordination pathways.
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, boxing rings and on the streets creating spaces for spiritual seekers.
CMS offers a variety of training courses from certificates to PHD’s as well as an ordination pathway.
St Mellitus College’s Full-Time Context-Based Ordination training pathway is ideal for those training for Ordained Pioneer Ministry (OPM). The programme was originally designed with the needs of Pioneers, in mind. The combination of academic study alongside work in a placement context – a parish, church plant, missional or Fresh Expression of church – is well suited for those training in Pioneering contexts as OPMs.
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.
EASTERN REGION MINISTRY COURSE
The Eastern Region Ministry Course offers full-time and part-time pathways for lay and ordained pioneer ministers, based on your local context and grounded in pioneering ministerial practice. In addition to your core modules, you will undertake specialist modules focused on creating new Christian communities giving you the opportunity to develop projects in your local pioneering context.
Ridley Hall offers both lay and ordained pioneer pathways.
All students at Ridley Hall undertake in-depth theological and biblical study as well as modules specific to ministry and mission in their specialism. The modules undertaken by lay pioneer ministry specialists include Pioneer Ministry, Discipleship, Pastoral Care, Management, and Leadership. All students have the opportunity to undertake research in an area of interest at level 6 (third year). There is also opportunity for lay pioneers to engage in classes alongside pioneer ordinands studying at Ridley Hall.
CHURCH OF SCOTLAND
In 2015 the Church of Scotland launched proposals for a pilot scheme of Pioneer Ministers. Speaking at the 2015 General Assembly, the then Convener Neil Dougal said, ‘We need ministers who can go into areas where there is no Church of Scotland presence, read the needs of the community, and bring the benefits of Christianity to them.’ The Church of Scotland also has the Joint Emerging Church Group (JECG) where you can find resources, training, and initiatives available to help and inspire emerging churches.
METHODIST PIONEER PATHWAYS
Methodist Pioneering Pathways (MPP) is a community of pioneers and planters. It is the church’s formal structure to support them as they begin New Places for New People. It is a community of equipping, coaching and connecting, expressed through local, national, and virtual gatherings. MPP is a community affirmed by the church for those discerned called to start New Places for New People.
SALVATION ARMY PIONEERING
The Salvation Army Pioneer training is offered through Forge England & Wales (see below), as well as Pioneer Bitesize – an online learning platform based around the Missional DNA using videos and coached dialogue.
For Anyone exploring their first steps in pioneering email: Andrew.Vertigan@salvationarmy.org.uk
MULTI DENOMINATIONAL TRAINING
FORGE ENGLAND AND WALES
Forge exists to help mobilise and equip the people of God to participate in the mission of God. Forge trains ordinary people to become missional and thrive in whatever context to which one is called. This may be in pioneering new things, church planting, working in and through an already existing church, or serving in a local community, professional or relational network, through a 9-12 month programme.
MISSION THEOLOGY AND MINISTRY ON THE MARGINS
Leeds School of Theology have partnered with Lighthouse West Yorkshire in facilitating a dynamic learning community which will serve Christians already working alongside the marginalised or who have a heart to pioneer in this area. Lighthouse is a fresh expression of church that serves adults with multiple and complex needs including poverty, mental health, homelessness, trauma and addiction.
ST HILD COLLEGE
St Hild’s has an expansive view of mission that constantly enlarges our horizons. This means helping to make disciples, grow and plant churches, raise new ministries, pursue transformative justice and seek the flourishing of all creation. St Hild’s offers a variety of pioneering courses including Mission on the Margins, Church Planting, Baptist Training and Ordination Training.
THE LIGHT COLLEGE
The Light College are one of the leading Christian colleges in the UK specialising in pioneering and evangelism. We are very much practitioners of what we teach and you’ll be working alongside experienced evangelists and pioneers in a community-lead relaxed atmosphere so you can grow in your faith and confidence as a follower of Jesus. And as you’d expect from a leading theological college, The Light College also offers excellent pastoral support to all its students. We are an official partner of the University of Chester.
ONE ROCK INTERNATIONAL FOR MISSIONARY ENTREPRENEURS
One Rock International helps Christian leaders in their 20s or 30s to deepen their spiritual life, clarify their vision, sharpen their leadership and broaden their network. It’s for leaders who want to start up or scale up missional projects – for business founders, church planters, social entrepreneurs, charity starters. Over one year those who sign up receive Content, Coaching and Community to develop their spiritual leadership, and help them fulfil God’s vision for their lives.
Urban Expression is an urban mission agency that recruits, equips, deploys and networks self-financing teams, pioneering creative and relevant expression of the Christian church in under-churched areas of the inner city, outer estates, and marginalised communities. They offer the Crucible course which is made up of 6 online modules taught over one year.
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FX Associates are the core of the movement. They’re a growing community of hundreds of Fresh Expressions practitioners across the UK who are passionate about equipping, encouraging and championing fellow pioneers and Fresh Expressions. If you’re currently involved in a Fresh Expression and looking for your tribe then come and join us!