Lay Pioneer is a new form of authorised lay ministry in the Diocese of Southwark. We have two forms – commissioned and we are hoping to have a licensed form agreed later this year.

What does becoming a Lay Pioneer give you?

  • Affirmation of God’s call by the wider church.
  • Tailored training and ongoing support for your ministry.
  • Accountability for your vocation from your local church.
  • A learning community of others doing the same thing.
  • Opportunity to reflect as you go.

Lay Pioneers are often linked to Fresh Expressions of Church (fxCs). An fxC is a form of church for our changing culture established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of any church. Pioneers want to reach communities and groups of people in new ways. This will often mean forming an fxC.

All Lay Pioneers go through a selection process with the Diocese which involves both individual and group work. Normally, they need the support of their parish priest or chaplain.


Training for Lay Pioneer ministry usually involves doing two things:

  • the Mission-Shaped Ministry Course, which runs on three Saturdays, one weekend and seven evenings over the course of a year and provides time and space to reflect practically and theologically on fxCs, covering areas such as listening for mission, Gospel and culture, engaging with your community and handling setbacks
  • the Bishop’s Certificate course, Growing in Faith and Life, a one-year course with classes on a midweek evening or Saturday daytime. It includes biblical study, our history, what we believe, issues facing Christians today, and prayer, worship and spirituality.

Next steps

If you think you might be called to serve God in Lay Pioneer ministry, please do contact the Revd Canon Will Cookson, Dean of Fresh Expressions (contact details below).

To begin the discernment process, talk to your parish priest or chaplain. You might also like to attend one of the Diocese’s vocations events ― a fair, quiet day, weekend or conference. Details of upcoming events can be found on the What’s On page.

For more information about Pioneering in Southwark Diocese do look at our Pioneering Ministry and Fresh Expressions pages.

The South London Church Fund and Southwark Diocese Board of Finance is a company limited by guarantee (No. 236594).
Registered Office: Trinity House, 4 Chapel Court, Borough High Street, London SE1 1HW. Registered Charity: (No. 249678).

© The Diocese of Southwark 2021. All rights reserved.
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