Lay pioneer minister

Minister on sofa in town centre

As a Lay Pioneer Minister you will be an entrepreneur - an evangelist, risk-taker, initiator and team builder with the capacity to form and lead fresh expressions and new forms of church appropriate to a particular culture.  Pioneer ministers maybe ordained or lay.

fresh expressions logoThe diocese encourages Lay Pioneers to follow the guidance and be inspired by the Fresh Expressions movement.  Fresh Expressions is the name of the national, ecumenical, team that encourages and resources new ways of being church, working with Christians from a broad range of denominations and traditions. The movement has resulted in thousands of new congregations being formed alongside more traditional churches.

The Diocese of Sheffield provides its own programme of initial training through mission shaped ministry training (a course supported and resourced by Fresh Expressions) and potentially lay leader training through the School of Ministry.

pathways image - arrows



Step 1

If you are considering becoming a Lay Pioneer, the first thing to do is to gain the support of your church leader who may decide that you should look into training for this role. You may be required to have particular experience and this may need to be built up and encouarged over a longer period of time. When ready, you would be encouraged to apply for the mission shaped ministry course or at least the mission shaped intro course.

mission shaped intro (msi) is a six session course that invites people to rediscover mission and re-imagine church in a changing world.

mission shaped ministry (msm) is a one-year learning journey in a supportive community aimed at equipping people for a lifetime of good practice and learning in growing the church in a changing world.  The course is relevant to those wanting to develop traditional church as well as those developing new forms of church.

Step 2

Depending on your stuation whether you are ordained, licensed lay or you have just completed the msm course, there are a number of options open to you. Many of those who complete the msm course move straight to Step 3 and set up a working agreement between the pioneer leader and the church leader and get to work - however some may wish to consider further lay training.

Lay Training

It may be appropriate for you to apply for Lay training through School of Ministry or Church Army Evangelist training. You could complete the Foundations 1 year course.   You are required to complete an application form and meet with the training team to discuss the next step including enrolment on to the Foundations for Ministry course.  For those selected there will be three induction sessions before the course formally starts in September. 

This course gives you an opportunity to continue to test your calling.  Foundations is a one year part-time course and is a prerequisite to further licensed lay ministry training, some even going on to ordination. The course is designed to fit around busy lives and runs from September to July involving one Sunday a month and three Saturdays a year.

Step 3

If you have chosen to complete the Foundations year as part of the School of Ministry you could then apply for the next stage of learning on the School of Ministry which could be one or two further years depending on the track you wish to take.

Whatever training has taken place, a working agreement (see resource card below) would need to be set up between the pioneer leader and the church leader.

Taking this further...

msm logo

mission shaped ministry



Go to MSM course page

For more details about msm courses contact:

Lucy Nunn, Course Administrator    telephone icon 01709 309135

Foundations and School of Ministry

Go to Foundations course page


For more details about this process contact:

Trish Stafford, Training Administrator    telephone icon 01709 309147


My Learning Plan
As a member I could add this to my learning plan, sign up here

Paul - Lay Pioneer Training

Paul talks about the lay pioneer training and authorisation process

watch video

Lay Pioneer Ministers authorised

Authorisation of Lay Pioneers at the Celebration of Lay Ministries - Sheffield Cathedral 17th September 2016

watch video

Lay Pioneer Ministry Agreement - St Peter's College

Download File