NPNP Guide - Individual Chapters

This page offers a breakdown of Starting new Christian communities: A practical guide.

There is also a four page summary here

What are New Places for New People?

New Places for New People (NPNP) are projects focused on forming new Christian communities for those not yet part of an existing church. NPNPs are the most effective means of connecting new people, new people groups, and new residents to Christian exploration and community. In addition, NPNPs bring learning from experimental ‘research and development’, identify and strengthen emerging leaders, and help the whole Church reflect on and examine its calling.

Read Chapter 1: New Places for New People

Alongside building on the New Places for New People (NPNP) beliefs and core values, Church at the Margins (CaM) projects will also be centred in and focused on the following themes, vision and values. The vision for Church at the Margins is to build new Christian communities amongst economically marginalised people in new places.

Read Chapter 2: Church at the Margins

How do I begin a local NPNP project?

Discerning where to locate a project is a key responsibility of the District New Places for New People (NPNP) Team. This chapter will guide you through that discernment. This process can also be adapted for and
used by circuits and local churches discerning where to locate a project in their neighbourhood. In order to discern where to locate your district-led NPNP project, you’ll need to:
1. Consider your district context.
2. Listen to the community in the prospective location(s), to God and to each other.
3. Learn about and meet local people.

Read Chapter 5: How to Discern Where to Locate a Project

All across the Connexion, there are people beginning New Places for New People (NPNP). Here are a few case studies that illustrate the wide variety of leaders and contexts that can birth an NPNP. We have chosen these stories as they illustrate the five contexts and people groups that the Methodist Church is currently prioritising: new towns or new housing developments; student/young adult/university; families with children; replanting in an existing place or second site of a growing church; and Church at the Margins.

Read Chapter 6: Case Studies of New Places for New People

The pioneering team needs to become a community itself. The New Place for New People (NPNP) will form out of real relationships that will transform both your team and those they encounter. As a pioneering team you will work incredibly hard together: planning meetings, designing publicity, running social media, putting out chairs, running events, and tidying up afterwards. It is important that a team has a purpose and a life beyond the hard work.

Make sure you have times together where you can know more of each other’s story, discover passions and dislikes, laugh and cry together. It is this healthy community that new people from the wider community will want to be part of.

Read Chapter 16: Connecting with the Wider Community

How do I put together a team and recruit staff?

The District New Places for New People (NPNP) Team (or teams) will have the following three functions and will be accountable to the District Synod/District Policy Committee for their work. Depending on context, a district may decide to form one team to fulfil all of these functions, or to divide the work between two or more teams, or to create working parties from one team for specific tasks – different models will work for different contexts. However, for ease of reference, we will refer to the ‘District NPNP Team’ throughout this resource.

Read Chapter 4: The District New Places for New People Team

Recruiting the right pioneer for your project is crucial to its success. There is a diversity of gifts, core skills and orientations in the pioneering community, which means that not every pioneer project is right for every pioneer. When writing your job description, it is important to identify the focus of the role and the skills of
the person you are seeking to appoint.

Read Chapter 7: Pioneer Job Description

Good management and oversight of a pioneer (lay or ordained) is essential for the success of the pioneer and the project. Clarifying how this will be done, and by whom, will be an important decision for the District New Places for New People (NPNP) Team to make before the project commences. Whatever form of management/accountability process is decided upon, feedback from Methodist and ecumenical practitioners in pioneering supports the sustained and consistent presence of a good, single line manager for the pioneer
in order for the project to succeed.

Read Chapter 8: How to Manage a Pioneer

Experience shows that an important factor in the flourishing of pioneers and pioneering projects is good working relationships with the wider church community and its key leadership. A significant moment in shaping this early on is the induction of the pioneer. A positive induction period will establish healthy working practices from the start. This is important in every setting, but especially in pioneer appointments
which, by their nature, can sit uneasily with existing church structures. Having clear patterns in place for everyone will underpin work and support ministry when creative tensions arise.

Read Chapter 9: How to Induct a New Pioneer

The growing number of pioneers in the Church is supported by the Methodist Pioneering Pathways (MPP). We encourage every pioneer involved in a Methodist New Place for New People (NPNP) to become a member of the MPP in order to access its resources and join the network of support. Pioneers in funded district NPNP projects will be expected to join.

Read Chapter 10: Methodist Pioneering Pathways

New Places for New People (NPNP) projects and communities will be varied in their approach and contexts. The principles and practices of the Methodist Church safeguarding policy must be followed at all times.

1. All NPNPs should consult and follow the Methodist Church safeguarding policies and procedure guidance.

2. The NPNP safeguarding policy should be written in consultation with the District Safeguarding Officer and reviewed annually

Read Chapter 18: Safeguarding

 

What do I need to do when the project starts?

Whether you are ‘starting from scratch’ to form a New Place for New People (NPNP) and are unsure how to begin, or starting with an existing group or project and want to be more intentional in your pioneering, this chapter is an essential read. It will guide you through your first year, teach you the core practices of pioneering, and enable you to recognise, celebrate and increase the fruitfulness of your work.

Often in the Bible, we read of ‘fruitfulness’. In Genesis, God blesses humanity and says, “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). We want to build fruitful NPNPs, and so we need to understand the hallmarks of a fruitful Christian community, and what core practices will lead to this fruit. The ‘fruitfulness markers’ and core practices presented in this chapter are the result of consultations with ministers, lay people and pioneers across the Connexion, and are rooted in tried-and-tested best practice that works in all contexts.

Read Chapter 12: How to Begin Pioneering and Recognise Fruitfulness

We spend a lot of our time in ‘what’ conversations: we exchange pleasantries, talk about the weather, discuss our activities, seek or provide advice, etc. The one-to-one meeting may start here but quickly aims to go deeper than these normal patterns. It’s not a commercial for our new project, an interview, or a pastoral counselling session. The one-to-one conversation is an opportunity to listen, build trust, and learn what the other person values.

Read Chapter 13: One-to-One Meetings as a Pioneer

A key element of the pioneer’s work will be to gather, build and sustain a pioneering team. Teams do not just happen: they are created and built. They take time to grow and need to be nurtured to continue developing. Several key thinkers in pioneer ministry believe it is time to think less about individual pioneers and more about pioneering teams.

The role of the pioneering team (which includes the pioneer) is to do the core project work of pioneering the New Place for New People (NPNP). Remember that the pioneering team doesn’t need to do everything – the District NPNP Team and/or management group should support you in clarifying the aims and core vision of the project, and other groups at a district or circuit level may be able to help with particular functions, eg communication, finance.

Read Chapter 14: What is a Pioneering Team?

What do I need to do to connect with people well?

It is essential for your New Place for New People (NPNP)/Church at the Margins (CaM) project to be rooted, sustained, and grown in prayer. As we listen to God together, we discern God’s will and purpose for God’s people. The theologian Simone Weil wrote, “Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer”. Being attentive to God together centres us in God and enables us to discover our vision, values and purpose.

Read Chapter 11: Praying for your New Place for New People/ Church at the Margins project

Listening is a vital skill and a core practice in forming relationships as the New Place for New People (NPNP) develops. As you listen, always be clear and honest about who you are as an NPNP and share how and why listening is an important and consistent part of your practice. From the beginning, plan how you will listen to the wider community as a regular part of your activities.

Read Chapter 15: How to Listen

In human relationships, conflict is to be expected, especially when people are experiencing change. The space to differ honestly in an atmosphere of grace and acceptance is the mark of a healthy community. Conflict becomes destructive when it is hidden, unresolved, or responded to in a way that distances people from one another and produces damaging behaviour.

Experience shows that there have been tensions between pioneer projects and the wider Church. This is to be expected, for one of the gifts of New People for New Places (NPNP) is that they can challenge assumptions about the way Christian community is expressed. Throughout the history of the Church, when new people have encountered the gospel, there have been tensions between what was established and what was emerging. It is in these moments that wise people have enabled the honest sharing of different perspectives for the good of the whole Church. A helpful Methodist Church resource is Living with contradictory convictions.

Read Chapter 17: Positive Working Together and Managing Conflict

How are NPNP projects funded?

Every district has been allocated £140,000 for one or more district-led New Places for New People (NPNP) projects. This should be match-funded or match-resourced (for more information on match-resourcing, contact the Project Funding Officer at bondj@methodistchurch.org.uk). Across the Connexion, at least 60 per cent of NPNP funding should be used for Church at the Margins projects. You can access the funding submission form here.

Read Chapter 3: Accessing New Places for New People Funding for District-led Projects

A District will need to have launched one or more district-led New Places for New People (NPNP) projects before it can fund any circuit- or local-church-led NPNPs. For ease of reference, throughout this chapter we will refer to circuits only, but please remember that the following could all apply to NPNPs started by a local church too. Once a District has launched a district-led NPNP, it can begin to fund circuit-led NPNPs. The funding process for circuit-led NPNPs will mirror the funding process for district-led NPNPs.

Read Chapter 21: How to Set Up Funding Processes for Circuit-led NPNPs

As your pioneering team begins to take shape, a helpful way to begin the discussion about money is to reflect on the seed missional funding the new project has received from the district or circuit. This money is an investment to help you get started, but it’s not a transaction. It’s a gift, a sign of the abundance of God who is the source of everything good, and also a sharing in the faithfulness of those who have come before us – forebears whose financial sacrifices over the centuries mean that there is something now to provide for new things, new missional experiments. At the beginning, praise God for this generosity, help the pioneering team to practise gratitude, and reflect on what honouring and stewarding this gift might mean for your new community as you begin to establish discipleship rhythms. How might this generosity beget more generosity? How is financial generosity part of your mission and ministry? How is it connected to helping the kingdom of God come about? What is your understanding of fundraising and stewardship, and how will you practise that? How can you begin to take responsibility for your financial life in ways that expect sustainability but more than that, in ways that expect you to fund new things in the future?

Read Chapter 20: Financial Sustainability

How do I share the story of my project?

“The difference between data and story is this: Data lists what happened; story expresses how and why it happened.”

People love to tell and hear stories because they help us reflect on our place in the world, to identify with the characters, and ask questions of where we find meaning in what unfolds. And at the heart of the Christian faith is the story of God’s love and redemption that invites all people to respond. That story is told in the Bible and in the living people whose faith we encounter. Telling the story of a New Places for New People (NPNP) brings life and character to the important work of reflecting, learning and evaluating. Good storytelling builds bridges with others, raises awareness of the NPNP, encourages others to join in or offer support, affirms those who have worked for the project, and is a wide-reaching and powerful way of sharing good news and inspiring others to start an NPNP too.

Read Chapter 19: Owning and Sharing the Story

Guide chapters for Pioneers

Recruiting the right pioneer for your project is crucial to its success. There is a diversity of gifts, core skills and orientations in the pioneering community, which means that not every pioneer project is right for every pioneer. Good management and oversight of a pioneer is essential for the success of the pioneer and the project. Clarifying how this will be done, and by whom, will be an important decision for the District NPNP Team to make before the project commences. Read  Chapter 7: Pioneer Job DescriptionChapter 8: How to Manage a Pioneer

Experience shows that an important factor in the flourishing of pioneers and pioneering projects is good working relationships with the wider church community and its key leadership. A significant moment in shaping this early on is the induction of the pioneer. A positive induction period will establish healthy working practices from the start. Read Chapter 9: How to Induct a New Pioneer

The growing number of pioneers in the Church is supported by the Methodist Pioneering Pathways (MPP). We encourage every pioneer involved in an NPNP to become a member of the MPP in order to access its resources and join the network of support. Pioneers in funded district NPNP projects will be expected to join. Read Chapter 10: Methodist Pioneering Pathways

It is essential for your NPNP/Church at the Margins (CaM) project to be rooted, sustained, and grown in prayer. As we listen to God together, we discern God’s will and purpose for God’s people. The theologian Simone Weil wrote, “Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer”. Being attentive to God together centres us in God and enables us to discover our vision, values and purpose. Read Chapter 11: Praying for your NPNP/ Church at the Margins project

Whether you are ‘starting from scratch’ to form an NPNP and are unsure how to begin, or starting with an existing group or project and want to be more intentional in your pioneering, this chapter is essential. It will guide you through your first year, teach you the core practices of pioneering, and enable you to recognise, celebrate and increase the fruitfulness of your work. God says, “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). We want to build fruitful NPNPs, and so we need to understand the hallmarks of a fruitful Christian community. Read Chapter 12: How to Begin Pioneering and Recognise Fruitfulness

We spend a lot of our time in ‘what’ conversations: we exchange pleasantries, talk about the weather, discuss our activities, etc. The one-to-one meeting may start here but quickly aims to go deeper than these normal patterns. It’s not a commercial for our new project, an interview, or a pastoral counselling session, it's an opportunity to listen, build trust, and learn what the other person values. Read Chapter 13: One-to-One Meetings as a Pioneer

A key element of the pioneer’s work will be to gather, build and sustain a pioneering team. Teams take time to grow and need to be nurtured to continue developing. Several key thinkers in pioneer ministry believe it is time to think more about pioneering teams. The team's role is to do the core project work of pioneering the NPNP. Remember that the pioneering team doesn’t need to do everything – the District NPNP Team and/or management group should support you in clarifying the aims and core vision of the project, and other groups at a district or circuit level may be able to help with particular functions. Read Chapter 14: What is a Pioneering Team?

Listening is a vital skill and a core practice in forming relationships as the NPNP develops. As you listen, always be clear and honest about who you are as an NPNP and share how and why listening is an important and consistent part of your practice. From the beginning, plan how you will listen to the wider community as a regular part of your activities. Read Chapter 15: How to Listen

The pioneering team needs to become a community itself. The NPNP will form out of real relationships that will transform both your team and those they encounter. As a pioneering team you will work incredibly hard together: planning meetings, designing publicity, running social media, putting out chairs, running events, and tidying up afterwards. It is important that a team has a purpose and a life beyond the hard work. Read Chapter 16: Connecting with the Wider Community

In human relationships, conflict is to be expected, especially when people are experiencing change. Space to differ honestly in an atmosphere of grace and acceptance is the mark of a healthy community. Conflict becomes destructive when it is hidden, unresolved, or responded to in a way that distances people from one another and produces damaging behaviour. Experience shows that there have been tensions between pioneer projects and the wider Church. One of the gifts of NPNPs is that they can challenge assumptions about the way Christian community is expressed. Throughout the history of the Church, when new people have encountered the gospel, there have been tensions between what was established and what was emerging. A helpful Methodist Church resource is Living with contradictory convictions. Read Chapter 17: Positive Working Together and Managing Conflict

“The difference between data and story is this: Data lists what happened; story expresses how and why it happened.” People love to tell and hear stories because they help us reflect on our place in the world, to identify with the characters, and ask questions of where we find meaning in what unfolds. And at the heart of the Christian faith is the story of God’s love and redemption that invites all people to respond. That story is told in the Bible and in the living people whose faith we encounter. Telling the story of an NPNP brings life and character to the important work of reflecting, learning and evaluating. Good storytelling builds bridges with others, raises awareness of the NPNP, encourages others to join in or offer support and affirms those who have worked for the project. Read Chapter 19: Owning and Sharing the Story

Selected Guide chapters for District NPNP teams

New Places for New People (NPNP) are projects focused on forming new Christian communities for those not yet part of an existing church. NPNPs are the most effective means of connecting new people, new people groups, and new residents to Christian exploration and community. In addition, NPNPs bring learning from experimental ‘research and development’, identify and strengthen emerging leaders, and help the whole Church reflect on and examine its calling.

Read Chapter 1: New Places for New People

Alongside building on the New Places for New People (NPNP) beliefs and core values, Church at the Margins (CaM) projects will also be centred in and focused on the following themes, vision and values. The vision for Church at the Margins is to build new Christian communities amongst economically marginalised people in new places.

Read Chapter 2: Church at the Margins

Discerning where to locate a project is a key responsibility of the District New Places for New People (NPNP) Team. This chapter will guide you through that discernment. This process can also be adapted for and
used by circuits and local churches discerning where to locate a project in their neighbourhood. In order to discern where to locate your district-led NPNP project, you’ll need to:
1. Consider your district context.
2. Listen to the community in the prospective location(s), to God and to each other.
3. Learn about and meet local people.

Read Chapter 5: How to Discern Where to Locate a Project

The District New Places for New People (NPNP) Team (or teams) will have the following three functions and will be accountable to the District Synod/District Policy Committee for their work. Depending on context, a district may decide to form one team to fulfil all of these functions, or to divide the work between two or more teams, or to create working parties from one team for specific tasks – different models will work for different contexts. However, for ease of reference, we will refer to the ‘District NPNP Team’ throughout this resource.

Read Chapter 4: The District New Places for New People Team

It is essential for your New Place for New People (NPNP)/Church at the Margins (CaM) project to be rooted, sustained, and grown in prayer. As we listen to God together, we discern God’s will and purpose for God’s people. The theologian Simone Weil wrote, “Absolutely unmixed attention is prayer”. Being attentive to God together centres us in God and enables us to discover our vision, values and purpose.

Read Chapter 11: Praying for your New Place for New People/ Church at the Margins project

Whether you are ‘starting from scratch’ to form a New Place for New People (NPNP) and are unsure how to begin, or starting with an existing group or project and want to be more intentional in your pioneering, this chapter is an essential read. It will guide you through your first year, teach you the core practices of pioneering, and enable you to recognise, celebrate and increase the fruitfulness of your work.

Often in the Bible, we read of ‘fruitfulness’. In Genesis, God blesses humanity and says, “Be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). We want to build fruitful NPNPs, and so we need to understand the hallmarks of a fruitful Christian community, and what core practices will lead to this fruit. The ‘fruitfulness markers’ and core practices presented in this chapter are the result of consultations with ministers, lay people and pioneers across the Connexion, and are rooted in tried-and-tested best practice that works in all contexts.

Read Chapter 12: How to Begin Pioneering and Recognise Fruitfulness

Every district has been allocated £140,000 for one or more district-led New Places for New People (NPNP) projects. This should be match-funded or match-resourced (for more information on match-resourcing, contact the Project Funding Officer at bondj@methodistchurch.org.uk). Across the Connexion, at least 60 per cent of NPNP funding should be used for Church at the Margins projects. You can access the funding submission form here.

Read Chapter 3: Accessing New Places for New People Funding for District-led Projects

A District will need to have launched one or more district-led New Places for New People (NPNP) projects before it can fund any circuit- or local-church-led NPNPs. For ease of reference, throughout this chapter we will refer to circuits only, but please remember that the following could all apply to NPNPs started by a local church too. Once a District has launched a district-led NPNP, it can begin to fund circuit-led NPNPs. The funding process for circuit-led NPNPs will mirror the funding process for district-led NPNPs.

Read Chapter 21: How to Set Up Funding Processes for Circuit-led NPNPs

As your pioneering team begins to take shape, a helpful way to begin the discussion about money is to reflect on the seed missional funding the new project has received from the district or circuit. This money is an investment to help you get started, but it’s not a transaction. It’s a gift, a sign of the abundance of God who is the source of everything good, and also a sharing in the faithfulness of those who have come before us – forebears whose financial sacrifices over the centuries mean that there is something now to provide for new things, new missional experiments. At the beginning, praise God for this generosity, help the pioneering team to practise gratitude, and reflect on what honouring and stewarding this gift might mean for your new community as you begin to establish discipleship rhythms. How might this generosity beget more generosity? How is financial generosity part of your mission and ministry? How is it connected to helping the kingdom of God come about? What is your understanding of fundraising and stewardship, and how will you practise that? How can you begin to take responsibility for your financial life in ways that expect sustainability but more than that, in ways that expect you to fund new things in the future?

Read Chapter 20: Financial Sustainability

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