MPP - FAQs

What do you mean by the term 'pioneer'? 
Will there be some paid pioneer posts available? 
What are the advantages of participating in the pathway? 
Is the pathway accredited? 
Do I have to be a Methodist? 
What will a community of practice be like? 
What will the role of the coach be? 
Will I need to be itinerant? 
Can I candidate for ordained ministry as a pioneer? 
Does this mean that other ministries are not valued? 

             

What do you mean by the term 'pioneer'?

We mean someone who, through innovative and contextual mission, is working among non-churched people to form new ecclesial communities (fresh expressions of church). This is likely to be happening in the communities where people are rather than on existing church premises (though not exclusively so) and will involve engaging in sensitive cross-cultural approaches to mission and evangelism. Many forms of exciting pioneering activity takes place throughout the Church, but this ministry has a specific focus.

           

Will there be some paid pioneer posts available?

Currently there are no plans to provide central funding for pioneer posts; Methodist resources are presently quite thinly spread. Local circuits and districts are likely to create pioneer appointments for both lay and ordained people as they do now, using either existing resources such as advance funds, or else by releasing funds for pioneering through creative approaches to deploying ministry or by realising capital from property sales. Mostly these will be advertised through the usual channels and, for presbyters and deacons, pioneer opportunities will sometimes be highlighted in stationing profiles.

           

What are the advantages of participating in the pathway?

The pathway is not compulsory for any pioneer, and not everyone may wish to be part of it. However, for many people it will help to make sense of and support their calling to be a pioneer in a Methodist setting. We hope that it will offer:

  • A sense of belonging and being affirmed as a pioneer within the wider Methodist context
  • The opportunity to engage with and be encouraged by a network of peers
  • Opportunities for appropriate formal learning and personal development
  • Sharing of experience and good practice
  • Journeying with and being supported by a coach
  • Access to resources and relevant information

Pioneers sometimes feel that they belong to two worlds, the church of which they are a part and the community in which they work, but don't necessarily feel at home in either. The pathway will have the potential to holding support pioneers in this place of tension and ambiguity.

           

Is the pathway accredited?

Not necessarily. It is a means by which pioneer ministry can be recognised and affirmed but, rather than graduating after taking a course, instead a personal portfolio will reflect the stage of an individual's journey and formation. In relation to the formal learning opportunities, those who pursue some undergraduate or postgraduate study will of course have that study accredited. Other modules and courses may result in a certificate or diploma or may simply be audited (i.e. participation without engaging in formal assessment). The pathway will encourage a process of ongoing and life-long learning, rather than a course to be taken in order to gain a qualification.

           

Do I have to be a Methodist?

The pathway is primarily intended to support Methodists who are engaged in innovative forms of mission. There may be aspects from which non-Methodists can benefit but our resources are limited and there are often alternative local support frameworks which might help others. In supporting those for whom pioneering is a primary focus of ministry, we will be asking that they are members of the Methodist Church.

           

What will a community of practice be like?

It will be a peer-network of people who are practitioner pioneers. It will probably involve regular gathering together, mutual commitment and accountability, learning, prayer, sharing and encouragement. Within communities of practice a rhythm or rule of life may evolve. Within this community it will be possible for people to develop their capacity for theological reflection, especially in relation to the context in which they are working.

           

What will the role of the coach be?

The coach will journey with the pioneer, helping them to develop in their discipleship and ministry. The coach will not be there to instruct or advise, but to ask the right questions and to help the pioneer to engage effectively with their context and in their understanding of what God has called them to do.

           

Will I need to be itinerant?

For lay people, it is more likely that pioneers will already be working in a local context and the pathway will simply support them in what they are already doing, or help them to develop something there. However, the different elements of the pathway will help an individual to develop a personal portfolio which will be a reflection of their experience and learning should they feel that God is calling them to work elsewhere. This would be helpful to lay people applying for pioneer appointments in a different place. Presbyters or deacons would naturally be committed to the discipline of itinerancy but, if they are on the move to a new appointment which they hope will have a pioneering dimension, the portfolio will supplement their stationing profile in conversation with those who have responsibility for their stationing.

           

Can I candidate for ordained ministry as a pioneer?

It is not currently possible to do this, and there are a number of issues which need still to be resolved before this can happen, but it is our hope that it will eventually be possible. Of course it is possible for candidates for ordained ministry to indicate a sense of call to pioneering, but there is limited capacity to address this in initial ministerial training and in initial stationing.

           

Does this mean that other ministries are not valued?

By no means. A great deal of pioneering mission is already taking place among ministers and lay people and is to be welcomed and supported. Our hope is that the pathway will support them in what they are already doing as well as encouraging many others to follow suit.


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