Lay Pioneer Ministry
Lay Pioneer Ministry developed, as with Ordained Pioneer Ministry, from the report Mission Shaped Church. It refers to a broad range of licensed and authorised ministries focused on establishing and developing fresh expressions of church. Pioneer ministry may be combined with an existing recognised lay ministry such as youth worker or Reader. In such cases no further authorisation will be required, although there will be benefits in training for this focus of ministry and being released form other responsibilities to give time for it. What is decisive, however, for lay pioneer ministry is that a it is concerned with establishing new congregations rather than supporting existing ones. A person who is considering and being considered for Lay Pioneer Ministry should already be initiating or be part of a team at local level that initiates a fresh expression of church. Discernment for this ministry involves recognition and affirmation of gifts already exercised in this ministry.
Qualities required include:
- Vision for planting fresh expression of church within contemporary culture
- A developing understanding of the interaction between gospel and culture
- A mature and developing faith and devotional life
- The ability and desire to work collaboratively
- Gifts in enabling evangelism and concern for those outside the churches
- The ability to nurture and grow Christian community
- The capacity to be a bridge between existing forms of church and fresh expressions of church.
Discernment and authorisation
Discernment and selection is made by the diocesan vocations team at the end of the first year of formal training. Candidates are publicly authorised and commissioned by the bishop at a diocesan service.
There will be a ‘one year part-time course in the diocese leading to at least two years engagement in structure learning networks. programme of training within the West Midlands Regional Training Partnership. It is envisaged that this would involve two Saturdays, one residential weekend and eight to ten evenings. The emphasis in the training and formation will be on continuous reflection on the experience of forming afresh expression. and on the personal formation of the individual. The course group would form into structured learning networks beyond the life of the local course. The person in training would work with a person acting as supervisor, coach and mentor. They will also draw on an on-line ‘knowledge bank’. In addition it is expected that deaneries will provide ‘training and vision days’ ‘on a regular basis’ using centrally provided ‘Associate Missioners’. The course is expected to be validated at HE Level 1
This draws closely on the paper Lay Pioneer Ministry in the Church of England: Guidelines for the Exercise of Lay Ministry in Fresh Expressions of Church March 2006