Is everyone a pioneer?

Is everyone a pioneer?

Of course our gifts are not all the same, but congregations can enable newness…

Everyone’s a pioneer…is a phrase often used when the conversation turns to pioneering new things in the church.

It doesn’t take much thought to recognise that it isn’t true.

The definition of ‘pioneer’ indicates the ability to start things from scratch, which doesn’t come easily to everyone. Some people never even think of doing it.

Or the word pioneer refers to someone who has taken an existing technique, genre, or area of knowledge and developed it into a new phase. In military terms pioneers are an engineering branch of the army who go ahead of the main forces and prepare the roads and bridges to transport personnel and equipment.

Not everyone in the church starts new things, prepares the way for new things, or re-imagines a current practice.

The sentence ‘Everyone is…’ has very few valid endings. One of them is ‘Everyone is human.’ Another is ‘Everyone is loved by God.’ And ‘Everyone is gifted.’

There has never been a time when the huge variety of gifts God has given to all members of the body of Christ have been so desperately needed.

We can’t covet the gifts of others; we need to do the painful and rewarding work of understanding what God has created us ourselves to become and do, however small, significant, left-field, or conventional. This will enable the local church to fulfil its calling to God and the local community.

Each of us has a specific role to play and a general one.

Together we witness to Christ but not everyone’s an evangelist; together we care for each other but not everyone has the primary gifts of a pastor.

We all have a responsibility to make the church a place of safety, but there is usually one safeguarding officer.

Similarly some people have a specific character and charism that makes them more naturally able to start stuff; a whole congregation can embody the nature of Jesus the pioneer in enabling newness, and this is what Pioneering Parishes aims to help participants to do.

Find out about how you can shift the energy of your church outwards on the next Pioneering Parishes First Steps course.

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