More news from the Methodist Conference

by Richard on July 7, 2008

This just in:

Church seeks ‘pioneers’ to reach out to young adults

The Methodist Church has approved a major new initiative designed to reach out to those with no experience of church, especially young adults.

The Pioneering Ministries scheme will see the establishment of new Christian communities and congregations in a variety of locations from city centre and suburban areas to more rural settings.

There will initially be twenty new projects, with the first beginning as early as possible in 2009. Each project will be designed to serve the spiritual and practical needs of those who have previously had little or no experience of Church.

Although the projects are envisioned as eventually becoming independent, the scheme will involve a major investment of Church resources and funds, with an initial setup cost of more than £4.3m.

Revd Graham Horsley, Secretary for Evangelism and Church Planting, says; ‘This is clearly a risky strategy, but sometimes the Church is called to take risks. In saying “yes” to pioneer ministries the Church is sacrificing control for the sake of creativity. Rather than setting the agenda for evangelism and mission centrally, Pioneer Ministers will be free to discern the shape of their mission in their particular context. What grows may not look like a traditional “church” but will enable young adults to worship God and be equipped as disciples.’

The Church will seek to recruit as Pioneer Ministers lay and ordained people who demonstrate vision, motivation and the ability to inspire others. They will be offered support and training and will be able to build new, viable independent Christian congregations rooted in the Methodist tradition.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }


Bishop Alan 07.07.08 at 6:01 pm

Great to see this development getting some real welly behind it. The problem I’ve always found is around definitions; some projects work out and some don’t, but without real commitment like this from the main body of the Church, the chances of any working out are radically reduced. Good on yer!


Anonymous 07.07.08 at 6:37 pm

I agree with Bishop Alan (at least I think so - I am not sure what getting ‘welly’ behind something means. I am, after all, an American and not fully fluent in English yet! Forgive a colonial’s ignorance :) ). This is something I have been wanting to see the church focus on. Very exciting stuff!


Kim 07.07.08 at 10:32 pm

Can you tell us more, Richard? It sounds good but vague - and so perhaps not so good as it sounds. And phrases like “reaching out to young adults” and “serving the spiritual needs” of people drive me nuts.


Dave Faulkner 07.07.08 at 11:06 pm

And will the ‘ministers’ be tied to a ministry of word, sacrament and pastoral care, thus making them pastors rather than missionaries? Without a corresponding growth in our understanding of ministry, this is fatally wounded. I hope I’m wrong.


Richard 07.07.08 at 11:50 pm

I don’t know any more than you Kim. Sorry.

I hope you’re wrong too Dave.


Dave Faulkner 07.08.08 at 10:04 am


I’m a little more hopeful this morning. See here.


Kim 07.08.08 at 11:54 am

Thanks for that, Dave. But let me come clean with what’s really bugging me: that evangelism, especially to young people, is overwhelmingly done only by conservative evangelicals. I would like to see any “fresh expressions” of the gospel include evangelists whose gospel is not tied to biblical inerrancy, penal substitution, narcissistic and apolitical concerns with my personal salvation, along with Islamophobic and homophobic ethical subtexts. Which means that non-conservative evagelicals are going to have to step up to the plate.


Toby 07.08.08 at 11:59 am

The Pioneer ministries topic was part of the Team Focus report, which is number 37 here:

I hope that this gives you a bit more information to answer some of the questions raised.



DaveW 07.08.08 at 2:56 pm


Just a small point, it would make blogging easier if the various pages within the Methodist and Conference sites could have titles that reflect the page content.

Anyway it is a good report! Thanks for all the material coming through.



Toby 07.09.08 at 9:34 am


Good point. We’ll have a look at it.


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