From the Margins to the Mainstream?

Research by Church Army’s research unit


Is pioneering moving from the margins to the mainstream of church life?

Over the past two decades, many Anglican dioceses and other denominations have begun to embrace the language of pioneering, and to invest financially in the appointment of paid pioneers in ways that were previously unimaginable. But the relationship between paid pioneers and the wider church is still sometimes uneasy.

In this report, we highlight the diversity, complexity, and contested nature of contemporary pioneering by drawing together the findings of three of our most recent evaluations of pioneer projects, which we bring into dialogue with our internal research into Church Army’s Centres of Mission. This summary booklet provides a short overview of our main findings. For more detail, navigate to the full report using the buttons above.


Click to read the acknowledgements

We are very grateful to the Church of Scotland, the Diocese of Oxford, and the Diocese of Portsmouth who commissioned some of the research on which this report is based, and to all the pioneers and other individuals from across these organisations who were willing to be interviewed. We would also like to thank all the Church Army Evangelists who have helped us with our research on pioneering over many years. This report would not have been possible without them.

Although I authored this report, I am very grateful to the members of Church Army’s Research Unit and other Church Army national staff who contributed to this research. Thank you especially to Andrew Wooding, Claire Dalpra, Dave Lovell, Elspeth McGann, Lu Skerratt, John Tomlinson, and Phoebe Leaver.

Dr Andy Wier
Research Team Leader, Church Army

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