CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission

“Looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross…”

Hebrews 12:2

Are you:

  • Someone who’s setting up a new worshipping community, Messy Church, or community venture?
  • Passionate about finding new ways to connect those around you with Jesus, beyond the walls of the church building?
  • Toying with an idea of something you think God might be inviting you to try?
  • Someone who has started things in the past, is resourceful or creative, or is seen as a bit of an out-of-the-box thinker?

If you are some or all of these things, and able to commit to six weekends and ten evenings for one year, as well as some independent study time, then the Certificate in Pioneer Mission course may be for you.

Pioneer is the word the Church of England uses for those who follow in the footsteps of Jesus, going out to where the people are to introduce them to God their Father. To do this he meets people where they are at, uses the everyday things around him to communicate the values and realities of the kingdom of heaven, improvises in the moment in response to what is happening, and gathers around him people who don’t feel they belong in or understand the world of the religious representatives of the day. 

Pioneers are sometimes called ‘dreamers who do’! The course is intended as an introduction to pioneer mission and will equip you to reflect on what you’re doing or imagining. It will be open to people with a wide range of learning preferences and previous experience. Sessions will be led in a variety of styles and will be accessible to those with learning difficulties, whilst ensuring a level of challenge in terms of content and ideas.

What will I learn?

The course consists of six modules:

  • What is pioneer mission?
  • Reading the Bible for context
  • Doing theology
  • Mission spirituality
  • Missional church
  • Pioneering in the rural church

Shape of the course

 The course is made up of two main components:

  1. Regular small group meetings held in the evening led by experienced pioneer practitioners.
  2. Six module weekends, spaced two months apart throughout the year, which run from Saturday morning till Sunday lunchtime.

We aim to make the it accessible to anyone, and welcome enquiries on this subject. We offer the course in blended learning mode in partnership with the Dioceses of Salisbury and Truro. This means there will be a variety of learning experiences, including-in-person, online and hybrid.

Assessment and accreditation

The course is not currently accredited. We use a method of formative assessment which we call a ‘demonstration of learning’. The aim of the course is for you to learn what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to you. We recognise a variety of learning styles, encourage creativity, and welcome demonstrations of learning that show originality of approach.

To complete the course and receive your certificate at the annual award ceremony, you will need to attend all modules and complete all demonstrations of learning.


On completing the course you will be able to apply to be commended as a Local Lay Pioneer in your context. This role will be subject to normal safeguarding checks and training, and be exercised under the guidance of a named supervisor, usually the church leader.


The cost is £40 per module, £240 in total, payable in a modular way or in full at the start of the course.

There are some additional costs for travel, evening meals, books and overnight accommodation (overnight stays on module weekends are possible and good networking and relationship-building opportunities, but they are not compulsory and accommodation is not provided).

Your church may be willing to contribute costs and it would be good to approach them as part of inviting them into partnership with you on your pioneering journey. Bursaries are available for those on low incomes - ask about this when you apply. We also encourage those who can to give a financial gift to others, as this models the interdependence of the Body of Christ.


The 2024 course has already begun.

Dates for the 2025 course: 17 - 19 January, 15/16 March, 10/11 May, 5/6 July, 13/14 September, 15/16 November.

How do I apply?

"Completely transformative. Completely changed my approach to mission. Built back my confidence. Built back my faith in church too."

Lindsey Morgan-Lundie, student and artist

If you are interested in applying for the course, please email Tina Hodgett.


CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission 2025 Leaflet 

CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission Student Handbook

Access the 2023 CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission Student Handbook here.

Further information

Lindsay Smith has been involved in three of the CMS Pioneer Certificate courses in Bath and Wells. She shares a regular blog about her pioneering experiences and thoughts

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