Strategic lay pioneer leaders training hub to open in Birmingham
Church Mission Society joins with the United Reformed Church, the Congregational Federation and Seedbeds to launch the ‘Newbigin Pioneering Hub’
Church Mission Society, the United Reformed Church (URC), the Congregational Federation and Seedbeds have launched a joint initiative designed to raise up a new generation of lay pioneer leaders able to see local communities flourish in God’s love and shalom and spur transformation by reflecting God’s love and fullness.
The Newbigin Pioneering Hub is the first CMS Free Church pioneering hub in the UK. Located in Winson Green in Birmingham and named in honour of the inspirational URC minister and mission theologian, Lesslie Newbigin, the Newbigin Hub aims to reach the 85% of people who say, ‘they will never, or are highly unlikely, to ever go to church’.
In September, the Newbigin Hub’s first intake of pioneer leaders will begin studying for the CMS certificate in pioneering mission, which comprises modular learning and practical ministry in local communities.
The Newbigin Pioneering Hub, which aims to accommodate pioneer leaders from across the UK, will be jointly led by Rev Dr Ash Barker, an ordained URC minister and leader of Seedbeds, with CMS, at the invitation from the URC, who will directly support the development of the community of pioneers at Winson Green, as well as putting a motion before the URC General Assembly in July to accredit this new category of lay pioneer. The Congregational Federation has also pledged their support.
Rev Dr Barker said: “We launch this hub at a critical time. So many of our churches have struggled to make a breakthrough to most of the general population, especially in our diverse, inner cities and outer urban estates. There is an urgent need for both greater relevance to local communities and faithfulness to the gospel that pioneer leaders can provide.”
At the heart of the hub is a desire to recognise and resource pioneer leaders in their calling as catalytic Christian ministers. In addition to their studies, Newbigin’s pioneer leaders will benefit from being part of a wider community of pioneers and have opportunities to express their training in practical mission contexts under the mentorship of experienced pioneer leaders.
Jonny Baker, Britain Hub Mission Director for CMS, said: “We know from experience that hubs like Newbigin challenge the existing culture, transforming the way the Church interacts with communities and makes a difference to real lives. Our hope is that the Newbigin Hub will catalyse mission at the edges and by establishing a presence in the Midlands, help to build a nationwide network for pioneer training and practice.”
Find out more
For more information about the Newbigin Hub please visit the pioneer training website.