What is a 'pioneer'?
Pioneers are those who work primarily in 'fresh expression' churches – contextual and missional churches which take a variety of shapes and forms. Pioneers aim to create church for and with people, groups and networks who have no contact with any existing church.
In 2004 the Church of England published the report Mission-Shaped Church (pdf download), which – recognising changes in churches and culture – officially encouraged missionary forms of church established mainly for people who might not normally venture into a traditional church building. Recommendation 11 of the report called for the identification, selection and training of pioneers, and added that 'patterns of training should be appropriate to the skills, gifting and experiences of those being trained'.
Ordained Pioneer Ministry
Ordained Pioneer Ministry (OPM) is designed for individuals who are clear that their vocation is to serve and guide the whole Church in developing fresh expressions of church. For more details on Ordained Pioneer Ministry see the Guidelines (pdf download) on the C of E website.
Becoming a Pioneer Ordinand
The process for becoming a Pioneer Ordinand in the Church of England is exactly the same as for the standard Ordination track, except that in addition to a Bishops’ Advisory Panel you are also required to attend a separate Pioneer Panel (Word doc download) who will help to discern your pioneering potential.
Pioneer training at Ridley
The foundation of our training is the gathering of the pioneers every Friday morning for specific pioneer training, support and development. There is a strong emphasis on practical experience with opportunities to work in local, national and international fresh expressions of church.
The college has also a strong emphasis on mission which is mainly taught by acclaimed missiologist Revd Dr Paul Weston. Revd Dr Adrian Chatfield, who is a member of the National Fresh Expression Team, brings experience in mission spirituality and the relationship between the Anglican tradition and fresh expressions.
Pioneers are able to pursue an appropriate accredited academic course which Ridley offers. Most pioneer students pursue a full-time course but we also offer mixed-mode study which enables you to carry on working in a pioneer situation for half of your time plus half time study which will mainly be at Ridley Hall but will include some local academic supervision.
Find out more
If you would like to know more about training for Ordained Pioneer Ministry at Ridley Hall please contact David Male.
The Revd David Male came to Cambridge in 2006 as Tutor in Pioneer Ministry Training in a joint project between Ridley Hall, Westcott House and the Diocese of Ely (to which he is Fresh Expressions Adviser). His main role is to supervise the training and to develop the pathways of designated ordinand Pioneer Ministers.