Growing pioneer ministry

Pioneering is about doing things new and doing things differently.
Lady in hard hat being given ash cross on forehead Jim Holden

What do pioneers do?

Pioneering is about firsts. Being the first to lead ministry into new places for and with others. Pioneers must be able to see a new future, and have the skills and gifts needed to make it a reality now.

Pioneers connect with people outside of Church, creating new ways of doing Church together in their community.

Pioneers are leaders of innovation, with a gift for seeing what God is doing and responding creatively to it.


Fresh Start Pioneers

Classic pioneering types who start new things, love firsts, and enjoy the blank canvas.

Released from the expectations of classic parish roles, they are able to minister in places where the Church is not present.


Parish Based Pioneers

Pioneers who work from a parish base but from there develop new ways of doing things, expanding the growth and reach of the local Church.

Pioneering is the main focus of their ministry and most of their time is spent with people outside the Church.

Two ladies in a busy coffee shop talking over a drink.

Regional networks

Our regional networks help provide the most effective and co-ordinated pioneer training in your region.

Regional networks work by partnering dioceses, theological education institutions, and other local organisations to bring together lay and ordained pioneers for training, support, and best practice.

Use the details below to connect with your network. We currently have three up and running, and we are growing our regional networks to cover all of England. If you’re involved in pioneering and would like to be a part of this please do get in touch.

  • 1
    Current: Start
  • 2
  • 3
Page 1 of 3 (0%)

Selection paperwork

All candidates for pioneer ministry will attend a pioneer panel, with candidates for ordained pioneer ministry also attending a Bishops' Advisory Panel

Ladies praying for each other


How to pioneer (even if you haven’t a clue)

“This is a ‘can do’ book, best put into the hands of people who sense a desire to respond to the call of God to reimagine things, but don’t quite know the steps to realise it. It is deeply practical, deeply hopeful, and deeply involving.” Archbishop Justin Welby

Authored by David Male, our national pioneer development adviser, this award winning practical handbook covers everything from how to listen to the physical, social and spiritual environment of a local context, to how to build a creative team, how to build relationships and create communities through acts of authentic love, how to become and stay Jesus-centred, how to live and tell the gospel in meaningful ways, how to grow disciples, and how to stay fresh.

How to pioneer is available to buy from Church House Publishing.

Fresh Expressions
Brimming with stories, ideas and resources, this is a good place to start to find more resources and information. For starters check out The Guide, a handy resource containing how-to advice on starting, developing and sustaining fresh expressions of church based on shared experiences. All the material is based on listening to hundreds of different stories on how fresh expressions begin and are sustained.

New Way of Being Church
Supports small communities, embracing a diverse group of people whose gifts and calling are directed to the well-being of our local communities.

Urban Expressions
Urban Expression is a mission agency that recruits, equips, deploys and networks self-financing teams, pioneering creative and relevant expressions of the Christian church in under-churched areas of the inner city.

Café Church
Providing training and advice for those hoping to set up a café church.

Messy Church
Offers a way of being church for families involving fun which helps people encounter Jesus as Lord and Saviour.

Rural expression
Rural Expression is a mission initiative that recruits, equips, deploys and networks self-financing teams, pioneering, creative and relevant expressions of the Christian church among under-churched groups and communities in rural areas.

Church Army Centres of Mission
Developing new communities in specific areas in the UK.

How to finance a fresh expression
A very helpful basic guide on finance.

Church Army Research Unit
Research on what is happening with and in fresh expressions of church, mainly in the Church of England.

Mission Shaped Ministry
MSM is an excellent one-year course which takes people on a learning journey as part of a supportive community, training them for ministry in fresh expressions of church. Usually the course consists of three Saturday, eight evenings and a weekend but there are more flexible ways of using the material.

Mission shaped intro
MSI helps people to reconnect with the communities they are called to serve and to re-imagine the forms of church that are needed for the 21st century. It takes you on a creative and reflective journey looking at the need for new ways of being church through six downloadable sessions.

Crucible Training Course
Crucible consists of three intensive training weekends each year to equip Christians to follow Jesus on the margins by creating new communities.

CMS Pioneer Training
This is a modular course which means it is very flexible.

Pioneer School
Pioneer School is a course specifically designed for those leading new communities. It is held on 6 Saturdays over a period of about 8 months. Each day is structured with input and discussion in the morning followed by small, peer-led groups in the afternoon.

Mentoring training
An easy-to-use pack with everything you need to start a church-based mentoring network: identifying, equipping and resourcing mentors.

Mentor Connect
Helps leaders to find a mentor.

Ugly Duckling Company
A number of excellent resources that attempt to create spaces for people to explore some of the big and not-so-big questions of life. A great source for developing spiritual conversations.