Mentoring and Mission Accompaniment New Ordained Pioneer Ministers by Ian Mobsby 2011 What is Pioneer Ordained Pioneer Ministry?

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Mentoring and Mission Accompaniment New Ordained Pioneer Ministers

by Ian Mobsby 2011
What is Pioneer Ordained Pioneer Ministry?

Ordained Pioneer Ministers are people who are identified, trained and deployed to pioneer new initiatives and fresh expressions of church. The report Mission-Shaped Church, published in 2003, recommends that the initial training of all ministers should include a focus on cross-cultural evangelism, church planting and fresh expressions of church. (Recommendation 10). However it also recommends that Ordained Pioneer Ministry should be a particular focus within the one ordained ministry. OPM is designed for gifted individuals, many of them young adults, who are clear that their vocation is to serve and guide the whole church in developing fresh expressions of church life. Such candidates should either already have a proven record of effective pioneer ministry or the obvious potential to do so.

Expectations of Ordained Pioneers

  • Particular experience and a strong track record in pioneering ministry

  • Gifts in enabling in evangelism and concern for those outside the church

  • Appropriate potential as an ordained pioneer minister Ordained Pioneer Ministers may be stipendiary, non-stipendiary/self-supporting or OLM.


As pioneers they should be prepared to be flexible in their future ministry. Some may spend their whole ministry as a pioneer, for others it will be part of their ministry. Pioneer ministers ‘may well need to alternate between periods of stipendiary and self-supporting ministry throughout their working life’. For this reason candidates are advised to own their own home where possible and may be offered a housing allowance. Others may have housing provided by the diocese.


NSM/self-supporting candidates will normally be engaged already in pioneering ministry and will normally be ordained in their present context under supervision. 

First Post Dual Supervision and Mentoring

Training for Ordained Pioneer Ministers will be completed on either a traditional ministerial course or college but with additional emphases covered through the learning programme and the placement. This may, in some cases, lengthen the time of training.  Alternatively OPM may train through mixed mode which is particularly appropriate as a result of the action-reflection methodology of the mixed mode approach.

As far as content is concerned,  OPM will cover the same subject areas as their more usual counterparts but will also be given specialist training in missiology including inculturation and cross cultural mission and ecclesiology.

Supervision during the first post is recommended to involve two supervisors, an established pioneer offering support and mentoring in this aspect of ministry and the training incumbent who will oversee other aspects of ministerial formation.
Appropriate supervision for the candidate in pioneer ministry is essential within the context of ongoing ministerial formation. The OPM Guidelines provide for dual supervision: a training incumbent working alongside an experienced pioneer minister. One person may be able to fulfil both roles. The experienced pioneer minister offering supervision may not be in the immediate context but should be close enough to allow for frequent meetings and sharing in some aspects of ministry together.
Developing good practice suggests that the provision of mission accompaniment, mentoring of coaching is appropriate for all pioneering ministries, not simply for those in their title post. In many instances the provision of this mentoring may form part of the supervision arrangements during the title.
Areas of learning for Mission Accompaniment

  1. Experience in self directed learning and reflection on context through effective experience of mission accompaniment and participation in a learning network.

  2. Forming a team including supervising the ministry of others

  3. The skills and experience of mission audit and discerning fruitful pathways in mission

  4. Evangelism and the nurture of new Christians

  5. Forming a fresh expression of church in a sustainable way appropriate to the context

  6. Growing in the ability to reflect on both fruitful ministry and unfruitful ministry and to respond creatively to both situations

  7. The ability to teach and equip other pioneers

Expectations of Mentor/Mission Accompanier

  1. The Ordained Pioneer Minister will maintain a 50:50 balance between ordinary ministry formation and time for pioneering mission formation and practice for the full duration of the Curacy.

  2. In the first nine months, the Newly Ordained Pioneer Minister will listen to context, and build up relational connections with people in the mission context for 0.5 of their time.

  3. In the first year, it is suggested that the newly Ordained Pioneer Minister meet up with the Mission Accompanier every other month (6 times) for one to one mission accompaniment with at least 4 training tutorials individually tailored to the particular learning needs of contextual mission and theology. Note: Where the context is demanding this can increase to every 6 weeks if required.

  4. In later years, the Ordained Pioneer Minister should be available for Mission Accompaniment every three months.

  5. In addition to Mission Accompaniment, the Ordained Pioneer MUST be given time to attend conferences and training opportunities provided for Pioneer Ministers, to augment vocation and skill development.

  6. For Mission Accompaniment/Mentoring supervision, it is expected that the Pioneer comes to London to make this viable.

Expectations concerning costs

  • It is expected that the Diocese and Parish will cover travel costs for this dual supervision requirement for Ordained Pioneer Ministers.

  • Given the time and planning commitment to the Mission Accompanier, it is an expected that the Diocese will honour this commitment with a £100 donation as a gesture of good will towards the costs of the Mission Accompanier for their time in the first year, and then £50 for every year after. Note: It is anticipated that Mission Accompaniment takes 30 hours of preparation and direct contact time of the Mentor in the first year, and then 15 hours of preparation and context time every year afterwards.

Ground Rules

  • That Mission Accompaniment is a confidential relationship between the newly Ordained Pioneer Minister and the Mentor, and therefore fully confidential within the usual lawful parameters.

  • That the Mission Accompanier will only contact the Supervising Incumbent in the knowledge of the Pioneer Minister, and only on the occasion that this is essential for the wellbeing of the Minister or others.

  • That dates for mission accompaniment are agreed in advance, and must only be cancelled by either party in extraordinary circumstances.

  • Either party can give notice of an intention of ending the mission accompaniment relationship if it is not working out, where upon the mission accompanier will assist the incumbent and pioneer minister to explore alternatives if required.

Information on Ian Mobsby

  • An Ordained Priest Missioner working with the Moot Community in the Diocese of London, a national flag ship fresh expressions project.

  • A Church of England National Selector for Ordained Pioneer Ministry discernment.

  • An Associate Missioner of the Fresh Expressions Team.

  • A member of the Church of England College of Evangelists.

  • Priest in Charge of the Guild Church of St Mary Aldermary in the City of London.

  • Secretary to the National Roundtable for the promotion of fresh expressions of the catholic and contemplative traditions.

  • Member of the Advisory Council for the relations between Diocesan Bishops and Religious Communities

  • A member of the Society of Catholic Priest.

  • A qualified Occupational Therapist.

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