The Pioneer Collective aims to encourage, equip and release pioneers, those who are called to beyond the fringe of church and share the Good News of Jesus in fresh and creative ways.
The initiative seeks to reclaim 'our pioneering Baptist heritage' according to a press statement accompanying the launch, and comes in the wake of new General Secretary the Revd Lynn Green calling for 'an explosion of pioneers'
earlier this year.
Its national co-ordinator is the Revd Simon Goddard, the co-author alongside Chris Duffett of last year's Big Hearted
, and who begins as new Regional Minister for the Eastern Baptist Association (EBA) in January.
He explained that the vision of the Pioneer Collective is '400 new Baptist Pioneers: GOING to where the church isn't, DOING what Jesus does and SEEING what happens.'
'Over the next 5 years (2014-2019) we want to release a tribe of 400 Baptist pioneers to engage in creative and entrepreneurial mission beyond the fringe of existing congregational life in the UK, to seek the Kingdom of God in new ways, new cultures and new contexts.'
People like Louise Frood, who after her own life-changing encounter with Jesus, wanted to share what she'd found with others:
'About four years ago I started making up some flasks of soup and brought some loaves of bread and would head into the High Street with my friend looking for people who were hungry or lonely or who would chat to me.
'We soon got to know the local rough sleepers and addicts and began meeting the same faces each week.
'This progressed into weekly hot meals, street barbeques, Christmas parties, curry evenings, under the bridge worship, a few healings, addictions broken and some of the guys coming to know Jesus!'
The collective will provide coaches (mentors) for pioneers, as well as signposting training and enabling pioneers to access the "Equipped to Pioneer
" training framework, the framework for national recognition within our Baptist Union of Great Britain.
The steering group of the Pioneer Collective includes representatives from Urban Expression (www.urbanexpression.org.uk
), Incarnate Network (www.incarnate-network.eu
), Light Project (www.lightproject.org.uk
), and BMS World Mission (www.bmsworldmission.org
). Urban Expression provided the initial funding to appoint Simon Goddard as the Co-ordinator of the initiative, and the EBA made it possible for Simon to continue this task within his new role as Regional Minister which begins on 1 January 2014.
The Fellowship of Baptists in Britain and Ireland (FBBI) Mission Community was chosen as a strategic place to share the vision of the Pioneer Collective with representatives present from Baptist Unions and Associations from across the UK. The Pioneer Collective is already partnering with our Union and its Associations to work out how Baptists Together might help turn this vision into a reality.