Pioneer Ministry

Pioneer Ministry:
what does it mean? Is it for me?

In 2004 the Church of England published the report Mission-Shaped Church which - recognising changes in churches and culture - officially encouraged contextual forms of church established mainly for people who might not normally venture into a traditional church. Recommendation 11 of the report called for the identification, selection and training of Pioneers, and added that 'patterns of training should be appropriate to the skills, gifting and experiences of those being trained'.

"Priority and attention needs to be given by the Church of England to the identification and training of leaders for pioneering missionary projects. The possibility of a call to such work needs to be specifically identified in the vocational process. It is then important that they are not pressed into becoming ministers of existing churches but are deployed in pioneering contexts"

Our aim is to develop, progress and enable Pioneer Ministry, lay & ordained,  in order to renew the whole Church to fulfil its mission rationale of connecting effectively with every community in England.

Opportunities for lay and ordained pioneer ministers are increasing in the Church of England. Most of the information about Pioneers and pioneering if you are thinking about pioneer ministry, want to find out more or are involved in the vocational process can be found at

One of the first Church reports about Pioneers stated that, 'The Church needs to develop an agreed common language for Pioneers.' It's important to be clear about who we are talking about. The term 'Pioneer' needs to be both rigorous and flexible. Sometimes there is a confusion and lack of clarity concerning the term 'Pioneer'. The problem is if we don't know what a Pioneer is how can we identify Pioneers or help them identify themselves.

We now having a working definition for Pioneers in the Church of England, approved by the Ministry Council:

'Pioneers are people called by God who are the first to see and creatively respond to the Holy Spirit's initiatives with those outside the church; gathering others around them as they seek to establish new contextual Christian community.'

In terms of practice the Methodist Church's expectations for Pioneers is very helpful to make the role clear.

  • This is the main focus of their ministry. It's not a marginal or minor activity for them.
  • Most of the person's time is spent with those outside the Church
  • There is an intention to create a new ecclesial community. It may not always happen but this is the aim.

More information about Pioneer Ministry can be found for both lay and ordained Pioneers at

Information about courses for possible Ordained Pioneers can be found at

More information about pioneering generally can be found at


Related Links:

Lots of great web resources for Pioneers can be found at