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:

  • pioneering something?
  • looking to develop your understanding of pioneer mission?
  • looking for an opportunity to study pioneer mission locally?
  • 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.

The course 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.

The course is intended as an introduction to pioneer mission and will equip you to reflect theologically on your practice.

What will I learn?

The course consists of six modules, for more information click on each title:

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

Shape of the course

The course will be delivered through Holy Rumpus, the Bath & Wells CMS Hub.  

The course is made up of a combination of small group meetings held in the evening led by experienced pioneer practitioners, and module weekends which run from Saturday morning till Sunday lunchtime (There will be two small group meetings in the two-month period between each module weekend.  These groups are safe spaces to bring your questions, consolidate your learning and discuss ways of demonstrating what God has revealed to you in the course of the module weekend, with the support and guidance of a practising pioneer.

Module facilitators and small group leaders are experienced practitioners as well as speakers and writers on pioneer mission.  Each module is led by a different pair of module facilitators, predominantly lay people where possible as the course is for lay pioneers.  Over the course the leaders model the diversity of the church. We have an inclusion adviser, Lindsay Smith, and are always trying to make the course accessible to anyone, and welcome enquiries on this subject as well suggestions for improvement. We also have a course chaplain.

Following the pandemic we will be offering the course in a hybrid mode in 2022 and will be partnering with the Diocese of Salisbury. Some modules will bring students from both dioceses together somewhere close to the border of each diocese; some will be held entirely online with plenty of breaks, kinaesthetic tasks, and group work; some will be hybrid – a mixture of streamed teaching and physical togetherness.  

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 while we teach the use of particular tools for theological reflection, we welcome demonstrations of learning that show originality of approach. Your module facilitator(s) will give appreciative feedback on your demonstration (s) of learning, with advice as to how you might extend your practice or thinking further. 

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 entitled to be recognised in your local church as a Local Lay Pioneer. 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 of the course will be £35 per module, £210 in total, payable in a modular way or in full at the start of the course.  We have kept this figure as low as possible.  If you are not a Bath and Wells student but from another Diocese we may choose to charge more for administrative reasons, but will discuss this with you when you apply.

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).  Most resources are available online through our virtual learning environment, Moodle  (chapters of books for example) and we encourage sharing transport and resources as much as possible to keep costs low. 

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.


Module dates

  • 12 & 13 February 2022
  • 2 and 3 April 2022
  • 20 & 21 May 2022
  • 9 & 10 July 2022
  • 10 & 11 September 2022
  • 12 & 13 November 2022

Small group dates (virtual meetings)

  • 1 March 2022
  • 22 March 2022
  • 12 April 2022
  • 10 May 2022
  • 7 June 2022
  • 28 June 2022
  • 26 July 2022
  • 23 August 2022
  • 27 September 2022
  • 18 October 2022
  • 22 November 2022
  • 6 December 2022

How do I apply?

Students for the course will be recruited between January and June.

Click on the link for The Story of the CMS Certificate in Pioneer Mission Yr 1.

CMS is a place where ‘abnormal’ is the norm. The CMS pioneer training team exists to encourage and build up those who see new or unique ways of doing mission and living out the love of Jesus. As a student at CMS, I feel strongly that I’m where God wants me to be. My natural talents are being fostered and I’m challenged to think way outside the box.

Bryce Tangvald, initiator of the Hope station at Frome Market