Read below the nuts and bolts of what The Pioneer collective is all about or follow this link to our web site.
‘A risk taking Baptist sent to advance the Kingdom beyond the fringe of church in new and creative ways.’
This new initiative seeks to identify and support 400 new Baptist pioneers over the next 5 years.
Pioneers like Louise Frood who, after her own life-changing encounter with Jesus, wanted to share what she’d found with others:
“About 4 years ago I started making up some flasks of soup and brought some loaves of bread and would head into the High Street with my friend looking for people who were hungry or lonely or who would chat to me. We soon got to know the local rough sleepers and addicts and began meeting the same faces each week. This progressed into weekly hot meals, street barbeques, Christmas parties, curry evenings, under the bridge worship, a few healings, addictions broken and some of the guys coming to know Jesus!”
And like Emma Nash, an ordained Baptist minister who spends more time serving coffee than communion:
“A pioneer… is forced to consider the best way to reach a particular culture and is unlikely to be content with attractional* models of mission… I no longer see evangelism purely in terms of ‘telling’; living alongside, loving, putting faith into action are just as important… I recently became ‘Mission Development Minister’ for a church coffee shop. I spend my time serving the local community with coffee and planning fresh ways of sharing the gospel on the High Street. My heart is for people who have never been to church.”
[*NOTE: ‘Attractional’ models of mission are the sort that say ‘come to church’. Emma describes well what pioneers do: an ‘Incarnational’ model involving ‘going to, living alongside, loving, and putting faith into action.’]
The Pioneer Collective is an initiative which is about reclaiming our pioneering Baptist heritage. In 2012 we celebrated 400 years of there being a Baptist presence in Britain. As part of those celebrations we began to look ‘beyond 400’ (www.beyond400.net) and to have a conversation about the future of our mission and ministry together. The vision behind the Pioneer Collective is one outcome of those discussions:
The Pioneer Collective Vision…
400 new Baptist Pioneers:
GOING to where the church isn’t,
DOING what Jesus does and
SEEING what happens.
Over the next 5 years (2014-2019) we want to release a tribe of 400 Baptist pioneers to engage in creative and entrepreneurial mission beyond the fringe of existing congregational life in the UK, to seek the Kingdom of God in new ways, new cultures and new contexts.
Our aims are to:
● Encourage pioneers, especially those who feel isolated, declaring that the Baptist family values them and wants them to be released into their gifting and calling.
● Equip pioneers to make and nurture disciples where they are (not extracting them from their context).
● Release pioneers to establish missional communities or plant new churches, when it is appropriate and relevant to do so.
In order to achieve our aims we will do the following things:
● Provide coaches (mentors) for pioneers. There is a rich, recent history of pioneering within Baptist life in the UK. Learning from that experience is vital for individuals and groups as they begin new work in diverse communities.
● Signpost appropriate training. There are many superb training opportunities provided by the lead partners in the Pioneer Collective, as well as many from other organisations. Our intention is to enable people to find the most appropriate training for them.
● Enable pioneers to access the “Equipped to Pioneer” training framework. Baptists Together have enabled a framework for national recognition within the Baptist Union of Great Britain. Some of our lead partners have been involved in this. We help pioneers on the path to national recognition.
The lead partners in the Pioneer Collective are Urban Expression (www.urbanexpression.org.uk), Incarnate Network (www.incarnate-network.eu), Light Project (www.lightproject.org.uk), and BMS World Mission (www.bmsworldmission.org).
- Are you a pioneer?
- Do you regularly find yourself on the edges of church life, sharing Jesus with people beyond the fringe of your church?
- Would you benefit from thinking about what you do and why you are doing it?
- Or maybe you want to become a pioneer for the sake of the Gospel?
- Either way, the Pioneer Collective can help you…
For more information about the Pioneer Collective contact:
Rev. Simon Goddard
Pioneer Collective National Co-ordinator
400 new Baptist pioneers:
GOING to where the church isn’t,
DOING what Jesus does and
SEEING what happens.
This definition encapsulates the three important traits of pioneers:
(1) Pioneers Go Beyond the Fringe
Pioneers ‘go where the church isn’t’ and (sometimes literally) ‘move into the neighbourhood,’ following the pattern of Jesus’ incarnation. There is nothing wrong with ‘attractional mission’ (Jesus himself, as an attractive personality, drew people to him from far and wide). The point is not to say ‘let’s all start doing incarnational, beyond the fringe mission and stop doing attractional mission.’ That would be throwing the baby out with the bath water and would have a deleterious effect on our mission. Rather, the point is that the pendulum has swung too far the ‘attractional’ way, and we need to equip and release pioneers to right the balance. We need a revival in incarnational practitioners who advance into a secular and multi-faith culture, sometimes going to the darkest places where the light of the local church doesn’t always reach, but certainly going beyond the fringe of an attractional church’s borders.
(2) Pioneers Do Something New
When the Alpha course first came on the scene, it was a pioneering initiative. It was new, it was fresh, and even though parts of it had been done before and done in different ways, the ‘package as a whole’ was distinct enough to be termed ‘new’ and even ‘pioneering’. But just because something was new and fresh once, does not mean that it always will be. This is not to disparage the Alpha course, which has done untold good for the cause of Jesus and the advance of the Kingdom, but in defining ‘pioneering’ I think we can safely say that for the most part it has moved out of that category. Even doing a different ‘process evangelism’ type of course, although ‘new’ in content, would not be pioneering, since it still fits the same pattern as what has already been done. We can understand how pioneers do ‘new’ things in three ways:
a) A completely new pattern or form of thing. Take a look at Chris Duffett’s blog for an example of creative street evangelism where he gives away free water/cake/fruit, sets up a sofa on the streets with the sign ‘I Will Listen’ next to it and offers prayer and ‘free hugs’ on the street as a visible pictures of God’s grace. Though still evangelism, this is different enough to be classed as a new and pioneering step beyond Alpha and other process evangelism courses.
b) An old thing in a new way. An example of this is the story of a group of Christians who started running an Alpha course on their train as they commuted to work – an old thing, but done in this way would still be classified as ‘pioneering’.
c) An old thing in a new place. For many of us Alpha is very familiar, even safe, now. But in a traditional, old, insular church that has never conceived of eating together or of inviting non-Christians into church, or of inviting the Holy Spirit to minister to people on a weekend away, the Alpha course may appear as a daring and ground-breaking initiative.
(3) Pioneers are Risk-Takers
Risk is normative for a pioneer’s life and ministry. This may not mean literally risking death – in the English context this is fairly unlikely. However it does mean taking the risk of stepping into the unknown, risking rejection from Christians who view you as a ‘crazy radical’, rejection from non-Christians as you seek to share the gospel with them, risk of failing as an inevitable part of trying new things and so on. Taking risks doesn’t mean not feeling fear. We will only be completely fearless when love has been made perfect in us. But, it does mean facing fear and overcoming it step by step as we move outwards in obedience to Christ and his call, for the sake of God’s fame and the extension of His Kingdom’s reign.