[ACNS, by Gavin Drake] A training course for pioneer ministry run by the Church Mission Society (CMS) has attracted its largest number of students for the new academic year. The Pioneer Mission Leadership Training programme began as a pilot in 2010. It was approved as a pathway for ordained pioneer ministry in the Church of England two years later. It now offers individual modules, a certificate, diploma and an MA.
“The course, designed by pioneers for pioneers, was created to equip Christians for ground-breaking, transformational and sustainable mission, both in the UK and around the world,” CMS said. The 28 new students inducted onto the course this month will train as mission pioneers, mission ordinands and lay pioneers. They represent a significant increase on previous years.
The new intake is “a fabulous endorsement, not only in the quality of the training that Church Mission Society provides [but also] a recognition of the effectiveness of pioneering as an authentic route to mission”, CMS’ director of mission education, Jonny Baker, said.
Last year an independent review of the course concluded that it has had a positive impact not just on students but on what they are doing in their communities.
The new students starting the course this year include one who is developing a “mission community house” on a new housing estate, another who leads a town centre chaplaincy team, somebody who runs a mission community in Southall – a very diverse area of west London – and somebody else up ran what is described as a “pantomime church” for more than a decade before setting up an arts centre and hosting a comedy night at his church.
“The course felt like a homecoming as I was rubbing shoulders with other Christians who spoke my language and had experienced the same struggles I had,” second-year student Luke Larner said. “I found treasure in places I would never have looked before, in the ancient teachings of the church, confirming that others have travelled this journey of the pioneering mission before.”