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.
Ladies praying for each other

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.

To support the Church of England's goal to double and double again the number of Pioneers to 6000 by 2027, the Pioneer Build was launched at the General Synod in February.

Following the motion passed at General Synod in July 2019, The Pioneer Build encourages every diocese & parish to be part of engaging in a ‘contextual approach’ by building pioneer ministry in vision, opportunity & numbers.     


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.

Pioneering is a big part of the Church's mission to be a growing church for all people in all places. Many dioceses have dedicated pioneer projects, some of which are supported by strategic development funding as part of Renewal and Reform.


Testimony: Lindsay Smith
Testimony: Nic Findlay
Testimony: Luke Aylen

What is the National Anglican Community of Pioneers?

The National Anglican Community of Pioneers supports all those who are exploring a pioneer approach to mission and ministry in the Church of England – whether that’s full time, part time, spare time, paid, unpaid, lay or ordained. Its aim is to connect and support pioneers through an online community and by regular digital and physical meet ups, often with guest speakers. It also seeks to advocate for key pioneer issues within the Anglican Church.  If you would like to find out more, please email [email protected] stating whether you would like to receive information about Community Membership (intentionally and actively pioneering in some way) or General Events/Information


Do you believe God is calling you to serve as a pioneer minister?

Your starting point is to meet with your own vicar or chaplain to talk with them about your sense of calling. They can help you with prayerful discernment.

Some pioneers are ordained but most are lay. All have a track record of innovation.

Arrange to meet with the vocations team in your diocese about selection and training using the contact form below. Some dioceses have a dedicated Fresh Expressions Officer. 


What skills do I need?

To be designated as a pioneer you will need to attend a pioneer selection panel. Ordained pioneers also go through the Church’s selection process for ordained ministry.

Lay pioneers are usually trained by their dioceses, whilst ordained pioneers are trained nationally. Both ordained and lay pioneers are licensed by their Bishop.

It is important you continually pray about your vocation through the whole discernment process.


colourful pots with plants

Mixed Ecology Learning Pathway

A learning pathway designed to support people who are already in a lay or ordained ministry role in their parish who want to explore growing a local Mixed Ecology of Church. Click here for more information.

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The Pioneer Hive

The pioneer hive is a digital platform collating and creating new and existing resources, strategic tools, research, stories & consultancy to support dioceses and parishes as they explore ‘who pioneers are & why they pioneer’. Click here to find out more 

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Your Diocese will most likely get in touch with the ministers at your church. If you don't know which Diocese you are in, please enter your postcode on A Church Near You
Data will be shared with the Archbishops’ Council, the diocese you have selected, and the ministry team of the church you worship at. We will not share this data with other third parties.

Your diocese will be sent your message and contact details and may get in contact with the ministry team in your church. If you don’t know which diocese your church is in you can find out on A Church Near You. Your data will also be held the National Church Institutions.

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