In 2004 the Church of England published the report Mission-Shaped Church which – recognising changes in churches and culture – officially encouraged contextual forms of church established mainly for people who might not normally venture into a traditional church. Recommendation 11 of the report called for the identification, selection and training of Pioneers, and added that ‘patterns of training should be appropriate to the skills, gifting and experiences of those being trained’.
“Priority and attention needs to be given by the Church of England to the identification and training of leaders for pioneering missionary projects. The possibility of a call to such work needs to be specifically identified in the vocational process. It is then important that they are not pressed into becoming ministers of existing churches but are deployed in pioneering contexts”
In the last few years much progress has been made but there is the need for further developments. Our aim is to develop, progress and enable Pioneer Ministry, lay & ordained, so it becomes recognised by the Church of England as key to the future of ministry in order to renew the whole Church to fulfil its mission rationale of connecting effectively with every community in England.
To help this in August 2015 David Male was appointed as the Church of England's National Adviser for Pioneer Development, working as part of both the Ministry Division and the Fresh Expressions team to facilitate the development of a comprehensive and integrated vision, strategy and practice for pioneer ministry across the Church and is official champion for all licensed and authorised forms of pioneer ministry.
Prior to this role has was founder and Director of the Centre for Pioneer Learning in Cambridge, which aims to equip, resource and send out lay and ordained pioneers, both nationally and internationally, as well as Tutor in Pioneer Mission Training at Westcott House and Ridley Hall, Cambridge and Pioneer Consultant for Ely Diocese. Previously David spent seven years as the Vicar of the Net Church in Huddersfield which was one of the first fresh expressions of church in the UK. He has written a number of books around pioneering issues including Church Unplugged, Pioneers 4 Life, The Words Out and How to Pioneer. He is also a member of the Archbishops College of Evangelists.