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Drawing from many years of experience being involved with fresh expressions and new ways of being church, here members of the team explore areas of insight which have emerged from their experience. We welcome your comments and thoughts. Please feel free to e-mail us at admin@acpi.org.uk .

To see a complete list of articles, click here.

Pioneer Ministry and Implementation of the Mission Shaped Church Report

The Mission Shaped Church Report was published in 2004 and approved by General Synod in that year. It made strong recommendations for the recognition of pioneers and their identification, training and support in both ordained and lay ministry. Implementation of these recommendations has been swift and very positive and we give further details here.    
Evangelisation in New Housing Areas

In this article, Freddy Hedley examines a recent article from the Group for Evangelisation (GfE). 


One of the most challenging and yet most open opportunities for mission, church planting and fresh expressions of church for many years has been the context of new housing areas. These new housing estates provide a unique short-term window of mission opportunity for five years or so. This is because: a) Those having major change in their lives are most open to new things, including the gospel, and so there is a whole population more receptive to evangelism; and b) New housing areas notoriously lack community so that any good ‘community in mission’ can be the one place new arrivals can find it!

There have been some notable successes in church planting into new housing estates over the decades. Some have been inter-church or ecumenical, but Local Ecumenical Projects (LEPs) present the greatest challenge to start and stay mission-centred.


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Ordained Pioneer Guidelines

The Church of England has adopted the language of pioneer ministry for starting and sustaining fresh expressions of church. In 2006 the House of Bishops approved new guidelines to encourage vocations to pioneer ministry as a recognised focus of ordained ministry. There are a growing number of candidates in training and beginning to serve their title posts as pioneers.

Click here to download the guidelines

Moving from Courses to Coaching
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In the last few years there has been a growing focus on coaching and mentoring as the crucial role of leadership is recognised ever more in our challenging context. This has particularly been the case in the church where increasingly we are seeing a priority of ongoing support and learning through accompaniment and networks, to complement a leader’s development through conventional areas of training. In our ever changing society it is essential that we are able to equip our leaders to learn and develop in and through their own situation. 

Jesus’ model was one of making and growing disciples and leaders through coaching and apprenticeship. He also taught and trained on a larger scale, but his primary model was always around a small group community of learners whom he equipped for life and ministry. Jesus’ method was also an expression of the Kingdom dynamic of multiplication. Training processes enable large numbers to be involved but are based on addition, with greater potential of short-term gain. Whereas apprenticeship and coaching feeds into an ongoing relationship focussed on fewer people but with long-term fruit that can be multiplied out to great longer-term potential.


Cafe Church - evaluating a range of approaches

Over recent years the number of cafes has steadily increased to the point that now there are not only cafes in most towns and city areas butthere become café zones. And they are frequented to such an extent that they become the social hubs for whole networks, which then can be described as “café culture”. Even many villages may now have more than one café.

With this emergence of a distinct café culture as part of our multi-cultural context, at the same time as we have seen a developing movement of mission producing fresh expressions of church, it is therefore not surprising that a whole range of café church initiatives have emerged.

As we have observed one new initiative after another we have reflected that a number of categories are arising which themselves are instructive of some of the principles of mission engagement in this newmovement. Currently we discern five or six such types of café church.

Planters Problems
Bob Hopkins has written an article for issue 3 of The Sheffield Centre's Research Bulletin, entitled 'Affirm Planting' in response to an article written by George Lings in an earlier Research Bulletin challenging the language and anaology of the terms 'Planting' with related to the 'failure' or 'death' of a Church Plant. In the article, Bob references the ACPI workbook 'Planters Problems', which is available from our Online Store for £3.
Task, People, Rules Questionnaire

This questionnaire 'Task, People, Rules' is a helpful questionnaire for individuals to use to identify what they naturally prioritise in how they operate. Groups can then start to understand how different personalities can work together.

The questionnaire is referenced in 'Coaching for Missional Leadership' by Bob Hopkins & Freddy Hedley, available in our online store.
Click here to download the questionnaire  

Mission Cells - small groups on the move for planting!

Here is an extract from the European Church Planting Network's (ECPN) concept Paper 1. It tells of Zolder50 church made up of missionary small groups and one of their activities that keeps them in mission motivated mode... heading off together for a weekend of prayer, listening and "loitering with intent" in other villages, towns and cities. How about adding some of this vision where you are?

"Just over a year ago Zolder50's home groups each committed to go to another city in Holland, in an exercise they called 'spying the land'. Most home groups spent a weekend in the city carrying out surveys to discover what people thought about God and each other, but they were also tasked with getting to know the city to see if they could possibly plant a church there in the future.

Back in Amsterdam, the church recently split into two 'Neighbourhood churches' with four home groups (75 people) in each. They have some connections and ties, and meet in the same building although at different times. Zolder50's optimum size for a neighbourhood church is between 50 and 150 people, so in theory, as these two churches grow they will split again. In that way they have the potential to become a network of neighbourhood churches across the city, who are loosely organised as a City church that meets once every two or three months for worship and envisioning."

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On the Edge DVD
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 Pioneers recognised, recruited, trained & now promoted!

In 2004, the Mission-Shaped Church report recommended that the Church of England identified pioneer, entrepreneurial leaders who could initiate fresh expressions of church. It suggested that this needed to be a new ministry designation for both ordained and lay callings.

Quite amazingly, by January 2006 this passed through all the committees, the House of Bishops and had been fully accepted. The result was that a new designation of OPM (Ordained Pioneer Minister) and pathway of selection, training and deployment had been worked out and agreed and guidelines approved.

At the same time, in January 2006, a new national training course was launched by Fresh Expressions called mission shaped ministry. This is a one year part time course to support and equip both ordained and lay pioneers that is now running in 20 regions with some 500 already attending.


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