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Marks of Ministry of an Assembly Accredited Lay Pioneer

 1. As with other forms of ministry (eg. Minister of Word and Sacraments, Church Related Community Worker), an individual is not accredited by virtue of completing appropriate training. Accreditation is given when the Synod agrees an appointment to a particular role or initiative, recognising that a pioneer is called by God and that call in the United Reformed Church is discerned in a conciliar way.

2. An Assembly Accredited Lay Pioneer remains accountable to the Synod Pastoral Committee (or equivalent) for the duration of the role in the way determined by that committee. If either the individual or the Synod (through its committee) terminate the role, the person becomes non-serving until and unless an appointment is made by the Synod to a subsequent role.

3. The following marks are offered to assist the process of discerning the call of an individual to pioneering ministry and how that ministry is then practised:  

  • 3.1 A pioneer looks for new opportunities, possibly, though not always, in geographical areas where there is no church. Willingness to take initiative in overcoming cross cultural, relational, class and/or geographical barriers are hallmarks of pioneering.
  • 3.2 A pioneer looks to connect with people who are outside of the church, creating and developing new ways of being a worshipping community.
  • 3.3 A pioneer takes context seriously, looking for the connections between culture, theology and methods so that local people may have authentic encounters and follow Jesus together in ways that are most natural to them.
  • 3.4 A pioneer sees potential, ready to be released in new ways. Local communities do not need things done to them. Pioneering today is working ‘with’ local people, joining in with God’s work there.
  • 3.5 A pioneer is a person of hope looking to see God’s love and shalom flourishing. The purpose of the pioneer is not just to get more people attending church services. It is no less than helping realise the promises of God on earth as in heaven, as Jesus prayed.
  • 3.6 A pioneer is a dreamer and works to turn dreams into reality.
  • 3.7 A pioneer draws others into the mission of the church, engaging in a ministry of making disciples.
  • 3.8 A pioneer is a person of prayer.

General Assembly 2022

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