What is Pioneer?

Pioneer is a family of churches and missional communities formed in the UK in the early 1980s.

Our vision

Developing effective evangelism in our 21st century culture.

Alongside others, we are committed to the re-evangelisation of our nation and to see the Kingdom of God expressed in every sphere of society and culture.

Innovative church planting to reach the most unreached.

We believe that the church is the primary, though not exclusive, agent of the Kingdom of God and our vision is to see healthy churches planted and existing churches resourced and growing.

Training leaders who will shape society.

Our strategy

Our strategy is to develop strong resource churches [HUBS] that are able to support other leaders and churches as they, in turn, serve their communities, towns and cities.

Pioneer churches work in partnership with a wide variety of churches and organisations in the UK and overseas. We recognise the breadth, richness and diversity that exists within the Body of Christ and welcome connection with and input from other ministries and networks.

We acknowledge that Pioneer is a ‘small cog in a much bigger wheel’ but we want to play our part strongly, securely and humbly.

Our values

 Relational

  • God is community and, we believe, it is only in community that we can accurately reflect Him and see real and lasting fruit.
  • We honour and celebrate diversity within the context of our relationships.
  • We recognise that anointed leadership is a grace gift given to serve, with humility, in the context of community.
  • We value the contribution of both women and men at every level of leadership.

 Missional

  • We see ourselves as co-workers with God in His mission – the reconciliation of all things under heaven and earth under Christ.
  • The Good News about Jesus needs to be presented in a way that is relevant to our context through our words, actions and with a demonstration of God’s miraculous power.
  • We believe that justice and social action are central to the message of Jesus.

 Charismatic

  • Our life and faith is energised and informed by a living experience of the Holy Spirit both individually and corporately.
  • We believe in a God who breaks into time and space by His Holy Spirit, bringing revelation, healing bodies, sharing spiritual gifts and performing miraculous signs.
  • Our spiritual life is rooted in the Scriptures and informed by church history.

 Kingdom orientation

  • Because ‘the earth is the Lords and everything in it’, we believe that the whole of life and creation is sacred. We, therefore, look to express a culture and lifestyle of worship that has no sacred secular divide as we celebrate all of life.
  • Pioneer has a strong commitment to equipping everyone to engage across all spheres of life – business, politics, media, community, education, creativity and the arts.
  • We are committed to the unity of the Body of Christ and will seek to partner with others wherever possible.

 Pioneer Churches

Although diverse, Pioneer churches can be recognised as having the following characteristics.

  1. Prioritise ‘presence’
  2. Outwardly focused
  3. Relationally founded
  4. Leadership expressed in team
  5. Every member has a part to play
  6. Catalysts for unity

Pioneer Hubs

 Across the Pioneer network there are a number of HUB churches which either identify with a geographic region, relational connection or cultural distinctive.                      

  1. Connecting leaders

HUBS are gathering places for leaders with regular Regional Leaders Days and training events. HUB leaders will be responsible to ensure each church connected to the Pioneer HUB has the right amount of support for its growth and development.

  1. Serving churches

The development of Ephesians 4 ministries in each Pioneer HUB working together out of relationship provide support and challenge to leaders and churches within the HUB. We encourage a flow of ministry across Pioneer HUBS and other Pioneer Churches.

  1. Training and equipping leaders

Our vision is to train and equip leaders who are able to bring effective leadership in both the church and society. We do this in a variety of ways through Pioneer HUBS – courses, teaching programmes, conferences, seminars and internships.

  1. Developing mission strategy     

Each Pioneer HUB will develop a mission strategy to serve their particular community or region through a rich diversity of missional activity, evangelistic initiatives, church planting and local community projects. We are not looking to propagate particular models or theories of church and mission but to nurture its fruit in changed lives and transformed communities through whatever model or means is demanded by each context.

Pioneer HUBS

  1. Loughborough
  2. Manchester
  3. Maidenhead
  4. London
  5. Brighton
  6. Chichester
  7. Southampton

Other Pioneer Resource Churches

There are a number of key churches across the Pioneer network who serve as Resource Churches but do not operate as a Pioneer Hub. This is often because the ministry focus of that church is to serve a much wider grouping of churches or region beyond Pioneer. This is very much within our ethos to be a catalyst for unity, serving the whole Body of Christ and not just our Pioneer constituency.

  1. Cornerstone Church, Swansea
  2. Emmanuel Church, Lurgan
  3. New Generation Church, Sidcup

Pioneer Leadership

Billy Kennedy leads the Pioneer team.

Pioneer Core Team:

Paul Weston

Richard Anniss

Linda Ward

Allan Cox

Ness Wilson

The Pioneer Core Team is served by a wider National Apostolic Team:

Julian & Sarah Richards

Caroline Kennedy

Philip Emerson

Roger Ellis

Pioneer Global family

Pioneer churches are involved in many nations supporting churches, projects and individual ministries.

As a network, we have a number of Mission Partners with whom we work collaboratively.

These include:

Doxa Deo, South Africa

Pioneer Australia

International Leadership Connections, India

International Christian Assemblies, Kenya

Pioneer USA.

Training Resources

  1. Ignite
  1. Pioneer’s Leadership Pathway

 Pioneer Connexion

 

What does joining Pioneer mean?

There are a variety of reasons that a church may wish to join Pioneer:

  • a newly planted community looking for a wider context of belonging where they can find advice, support and be accountable.
  • a more established church finding a deep resonance with Pioneer’s vision and values.
  • an individual or group of people with a heart to plant a new church in a particular community, town or city.

Pioneer churches vary greatly in how they look but are held together, firstly through relationship, and with a commitment to a common vision and set of values.

For churches who wish to align with Pioneer there are two levels of association:

  1. Pioneer church
  2. Friend of Pioneer

Pioneer church

A church will identify as Pioneer, using the Pioneer identity, if the following is true:

  1. Embracing our vision & values
  1. Relational connection

As well as a commitment strategically it is also a commitment to become part of the Pioneer family. Practically, this is worked out in the following ways.

  • attendance at regular gatherings. We host a number of Regional Leaders gatherings each year, as well as, our annual leaders conference, and occasional one off days for prayer or teaching.
  • connection to Pioneer link person through a Pioneer HUB. As a guideline we would suggest that there is a connection with the link person at least 3 times a year.
  1. Recognition of ministry

We believe in the importance of apostolic ministry for the fulfilment of God’s purpose and mission. The role of the Pioneer link person would to offer:

  • strategic input – at key times in the life of the church, e.g. leadership transition, establishing vision, setting strategy, recognising new leaders, etc.
  • leadership support – input, equipping and training.
  • accountability – a safety net for churches and teams as we seek to lead safely and responsibly. We want to ensure that there is clarity of accountability and support for each apostolic resource community and individual church.

Any involvement into a local church will be based on relationship and operate only by invitation from an individual church.

  1. Sharing of resources

A Pioneer church will have access to Pioneer resources, ministries, conferences and training.

Pioneer has a number of key partnerships and is represented on a number of national bodies and forums. We are members of the Evangelical Alliance, the Churches Together in England, the New Churches Parliamentary Liaison Group, Fusion Council of Reference and Partners for Influence. As a Pioneer church there is, therefore, representation in each of these forums as well as access to the key partners with whom we work.

  1. Strategic alignment

Joining Pioneer is a commitment to align strategically with others in the vision to see our nation evangelised and the Kingdom of God expressed in every sphere of society and culture.

Pioneer has set out three strategic priorities:

Developing effective evangelism

Innovative church planting

Training leaders to shape society

We would expect Pioneer churches to be aligned with these priorities and seek to work with other Pioneer churches and ministries to see them established across the network.

  1. Practically speaking

Pioneer churches are asked to make a regular financial contribution to Pioneer. We have produced some guidelines to help churches.

We do not want finances to be a reason a church cannot access resources within the Pioneer network. But we have decided that some guidelines for giving would be helpful as we seek to share responsibility together for the unfolding of God’s purposes for our nation.

 

Band A – congregation up to 100 people – £150 per month

Band B – congregation up to 250 people – £300 per month

Band C – congregation over 250 people – £500+ per month

Although Pioneer carries no legal or fiscal responsibility for individual churches we would want to satisfy ourselves that sound governance, accounting procedures and up to date safeguarding policies and training are in place. This will take the form of an annual review.

 

Friend of Pioneer

A church will identify as Friend of Pioneer, if the following is true:

  1. Aligns with Pioneer’s vision and values.
  1. Relational connection

Friends of Pioneer are, as the name suggests, friends!

They would be invited to attend various gatherings including Regional Leaders Gatherings, the annual Leaders Conference and other events that are organised to serve the network.

  1. Recognition of ministry

Friends of Pioneer may invite Pioneer ministries to work into their church but there would be no ongoing monitoring of the impact of that input.

  1. Sharing of resources

A Friend of Pioneer church can access Pioneer resources, ministries, conferences and training.

  1. Practically speaking

There will be no financial obligation or commitment as a Friend of Pioneer.

Friends of Pioneer would need to make their own arrangements to ensure sound governance, accounting procedures and up to date safeguarding policies and training are in place.

Friends of Pioneer do not identify as a Pioneer church and, therefore, would not be able to use the Pioneer logo on websites, social media or other publicity.

 

The process

There are three steps to joining the Pioneer family:

A member of a HUB leadership team will meet with you to talk, pray and discern if joining Pioneer is right for you and your church.

  1. Explore

Over the course of 4 sessions we will explore with you the values that shape and define us:

  1. Relational
  2. Missional
  3. Charismatic
  4. Kingdom

 

  1. Welcome

On completing the conversations we will formally welcome you into the Pioneer family.

 

 Notes A

 

Marks of apostolic communities

  1. Prioritizes ‘presence’
  2. Outwardly focused
  3. Relationally founded
  4. Leadership expressed in team
  5. Every member with a part to play
  6. Catalysts for unity

 

Notes B

 Expectations of apostolic ministry

 

  1. Relational

Apostolic ministry is primarily relational. It should not be imposed or demanding but willingly invited and received. Therefore, regular time needs to be given to develop good relationships between an apostolic ministry and local church leader and leadership team.

We value the health of churches and church leaders and part of the Hub Leaders role would be to ensure enough provision is put in place for the well-being and ‘soul-care’ of individual leaders.

  1. Breakthrough

Apostolic ministry carries an anointing for breakthrough. The engagement of an apostle in a local church can help that church become ‘unstuck’.

It’s important, therefore, that space is created for the Hub Leader carrying apostolic gifting to minister into the church leadership team and congregation.

  1. Build

Apostles have a wisdom to build. Engage them, therefore, at key moments in church life – establishing vision, setting strategy, leadership transition, recognising new leaders – as well as calling on them when facing major challenges – conflict in team or church, theological disagreements, major financial decisions, safeguarding issues, etc.

 

  1. Access to others

Each apostle carries unique graces and strengths. They may not be equipped to do all the above expertly but they will be able to identify others that can help.

Notes C

Pioneer – Mission Partners

Pioneer is a family of churches formed in the UK in the early 80s. It’s primary vision is the re-evangelisation of the UK alongside raising up people to bring Kingdom influence into every sphere of society.

We recognise we can’t do this on our own and will seek to partner with other churches, networks and mission organisations where it makes sense and God joins hearts. Where possible we will enter into a Mission Partnership with these organisations to clarify expectations about the nature and scope of the partnership.

UK

In the UK, Pioneer is currently developing Mission Partnerships with New Wine Cymru, Scottish Churches Network, 24-7prayer and Tobar (Ireland).

Overseas

Pioneer churches have always had a strong international vision and many churches within Pioneer have active and long established working relationships with churches and Christian organisations in many parts of the world.

In recent years some of these relationships have developed to a point where the church or network have asked to align more closely with Pioneer. This would be the case in both Australia and the USA with the formation of Pioneer Australia and Pioneer USA.

Elements of Partnership

  1. Alignment of vision

Both parties recognise a common vision outworked in a particular region or nation to plant and strengthen churches that will raise men and women to bring change and transformation to towns, cities and nations.

  1. Alignment of values

Both parties are comfortable with the values that underpin the respective organisations.

  1. Relational connection

There is a recognition that God has ‘knit hearts’ together for Kingdom purpose and there is a commitment to pursue and develop those relationships.

  1. Recognition of ministry

Out of relationship there is a recognition and willingness to receive those graced by God in the variety of ministry gifts – apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastor and teacher.

  1. Sharing of resources

There is a willingness to share resources that are developed by different parties to serve the whole.

  1. Strategic engagement

There is a desire to plan, pray and conspire together for Kingdom purposes in a given region or nation.

In any agreement we will work through each of the 6 points above and define the who, what, where and when to ensure expectations are as clear as possible.

Types of Mission Partnership

 For overseas working we would recognise two clear types of Mission Partnership:

  1. Mission Partnership between Pioneer and another organisation

Each party maintains their identity and legal/financial autonomy and a clear agreement is formed around the 6 points highlighted above.

  1. A host organisation takes on the identity of Pioneer

The host organisation would maintain its legal/financial autonomy but seek to be more closely aligned with the Pioneer ‘global’ family as Pioneer [nation]. Again, a clear agreement would be formed to establish the framework for the partnership.