Today I re-read the ideas that were passed at conference about the Pioneers scheme within the Methodist Connexion. I am so glad I did, because I realised just what a commitment to pioneer ministry the church are making and just how much I feel called to be part of what they are offering. The plan as I understand it is that over the next four years, five pioneer ministers a year will be recruited and formed into district clusters. Locations will be picked out that the church believes a fresh expression has a good chance of surviving in, pioneer ministers will be given a team of volunteers to help, support and work with them. Each pioneer will then be looking to set up some form of "church community" for young unchurched adults at their given location, as well as mentoring on some smaller local emerging church projects. The Methodist connexion plans to fund each of these 20 projects completely for their first 5 years and partly for the 5 years after that. Hoping that those projects which suceed will become self sufficient after the first 10 years and that the first wave of pioneer ministers and these new projects will provide good training rescources and placement opportunities for future generations.
There is a great emphasis on training and support - something other pioneers I know have sometimes felt to be lacking, as they have struggled with new things, especially when others around just wanted them to "get a proper church".
If this turns out to be anywhere near as exciting as it sounds - I want to be part of it - so fully inspired I'm off to concentrate on the paperwork.