What is a pioneer?
A pioneer is someone who is able to connect with those who are not currently relating to church and Christian faith. They are able to help people to encounter God and explore what it might mean for them to be a disciple of Jesus Christ in the context where they are. They are also able to re-imagine what Church could look like for such people. We think of a pioneer as someone who, as a primary focus of their ministry, is connecting with and aiming to form disciples among un-churched or de-churched people. A pioneer will then be intentionally developing an appropriate new ecclesial Christian community, or fresh expression of church, where these disciples can flourish.
What are Methodist Pioneering Pathways (MPP)?
Building on the learning and experience of VentureFX, the Methodist Church has created a pathway within the Discipleship and Learning Network which aims to support and resource pioneers across the Connexion. It is a framework of support for pioneers - lay or ordained, part time or full time, paid or unpaid. Through MPP the Methodist Church recognises and affirms the distinctive call to pioneer ministry and seeks to build and support a team of pioneers across the Connexion.
Methodist Pioneering Pathways offers a number of things:
It helps people to listen carefully to God and to the Church so that they can discern whether they are called to pioneer and, if so, what direction their ministry might take. It also helps them to reflect on their ongoing formation as pioneers.
It offers pioneers the opportunity to be linked with a coach who will help them to reflect on their experience and develop in a healthy and effective way.
Communities of Practice
It encourages pioneers to meet with others who are engaged in similar ministries so that they can share together, learn together and grow together.
It offers a tailor-made approach to the kind of learning opportunities which will enable pioneers to develop their understanding of their context and ministry and to reflect theologically on what they are doing.
It offers guidance in bringing together the various strands of their experience, learning and reflection in such way as to form a record of their pioneer journey
More than the individual components though, MPP offers the opportunity to join with others in a movement of mission which God's Spirit has been causing to bubble up in recent years. If you would like to know more why not have a look at this video clip?