Pioneering Initiatives is one of three strategic tribes of ChurchNEXT that exist to help leaders, missional initiatives and churches worldwide succeed in making disciples and transforming their communities. To learn more about the three tribes that make up ChurchNEXT, go to the video link and click on “Introducing the Tribes of ChurchNEXT” video.
Specifically, Pioneering Initiatives is a collection of leaders and teams situated around the world committed to making disciples from among the harvest, developing emerging leaders, multiplying everything, with the celebrated outcome of new expressions of multiplying churches. Our priorities and values include:
- We prioritize the multiplication of Jesus-followers from among the harvest rather than simply improving aspects of the existing church.
- Pioneering Initiatives begins with disciple-making and leadership development from among the harvest as opposed to prioritizing the launching of a new ministry venue.
- Pioneering Initiatives appreciates the fact that for a person to make disciples of not-yet-believers, one has to first become friends with not-yet-believers.
- Pioneering Initiatives utilizes discovery based learning rather than expert dependent ministry execution.
- With Pioneering Initiatives, new expressions of church are launched by an apostolic missionary team, rather than a church planter who will assume primary leadership of the new church as it develops. From the very beginning, the apostolic missionary team will limit the amount of time they lead from “the middle of the room”. As people wired as shepherd/teacher are discovered, they are trained and released to lead from the middle, while the apostolic team leads increasingly from behind.
- Pioneering Initiatives functionally embraces the Ephesians 4 Five-Fold Ascension Gift typology for leadership and ministry execution throughout all aspects of the missional initiative. This is essential if the hope of launching and sustaining gospel movements is to become a reality. The following summary is taken from J.R. Woodward, The Church as Movement:
- Apostles – Catalyze & co-mission (Dream awakeners)
- Prophets – Expose & embody (Heart revealers)
- Evangelists – Invite & excite (Story tellers)
- Shepherds – Guard & guide (Soul healers)
- Teachers – Interpret & inform (Light givers)
- The Pioneering Initiatives team considers supernatural ministry a priority, and a normal means of revealing the gospel and developing disciples. This is one very important way we follow the example and instruction of Jesus. Our ambition is not to be “charismatic” (as some understand it), but rather, to be like Jesus in word and deed.
- The Holy Spirit in us – Regeneration
- The Holy Spirit on us – Anointing
- The Holy Spirit through us – Ministry
- Pioneering Initiatives uses a unique scorecard to evaluate success:
- Advancing the Kingdom vs measuring institutional growth
- Multiplication vs simply improving disciples and churches. This necessitates that our model remains simple (not easy), inexpensive and can be replicated at every level.
- How many are participating and being transformed vs counting how many are gathering to consume.
- How many are obeying the Word vs how many are simply learning the content of the Word.
The Pioneering Initiatives
Matrix (noun) – “An environment in which something develops.”
PI Apostolic Catalysts– These are the apostolic missionaries serving with the Pioneering Initiatives tribe of CRM/ChurchNEXT. They are visionary leaders committed to the work of seeing gospel movements launched in cities and nations around the world. Their unique task is to pioneer disciple-making initiatives among the harvest, identify and equip indigenous leaders to whom they delegate leadership, with the intended outcome of launching a new expression of a multiplying church (what we call a “Gathering”). Then, while maintaining relationship with that initiative, they move on and multiply their catalytic work in a different geographic location or network.
Missional Communities– These are the mid-sized groups made up of believers who gather regularly to spur one another on to live fruitfully together on mission. Cultivating a MC is a high priority for the PI team. A typical MC gathering would include fellowship, prayer, testimony, equipping, prophetic/strategic planning, encouragement and accountability. The MC is the most critical element in the PI missional paradigm, with the experiences of genuine community, equipping and accountability to live faithfully on mission at its core.
Missional Spaces– A missional space could be any place where current disciples of Jesus and pre-believers could meaningfully spend time together (ie., coffee shop, pub, gym, park). It also could include a countless number of activities that believers and pre-believers might enjoy doing together. In a missional space, strangers can become acquaintances and acquaintances can become friends. Through such friendship (bathed in prayer), the disciple of Jesus would prayerfully seize every opportunity to display the Kingdom and share the relevancy and joy of allowing Jesus to be the Source of satisfying one’s spiritual curiosity. It is often from the missional space that we invite people into what we call the discovery process.
Discovery Process– The discovery process is an intentional strategy designed to help the spiritually curious discover Jesus by experiencing:
- Authentic Christian community (John 13:35)
- A revelation of God through Scripture (Romans 1:16)
- A demonstration of God’s power through answered prayer (1 Corinthians 2:4,5).
Our PI missionaries utilize a combination of the familiar Discovery Bible Study method (DBS), along with a readiness to pray with expectation for the needs of others in order to demonstrate the power and reality of God. We like to think of DBS and supernatural ministry more as tools that can be employed anywhere and at any moment than something that goes on at a scheduled meeting. We are actually just inviting people to observe and experience the reality of our lifestyle of following Jesus.
Gatherings– A “Gathering” is what we refer to as an expression of ecclesia(church). In the PI paradigm of church planting, we don’t begin with a weekend ministry venue and program, but rather allow the Gathering to be birthed as the result of our labors in prayer and work out among the harvest. For us, it is essential that disciple-making and equipping emerging leaders precedes the launching of a new expression of church. We believe the local church is meant to be a family of God’s people committed to living all of life on mission. At a Gathering, the body of Christ worships, hears testimonies, is instructed and inspired by a bible-based message, has opportunities to offer and receive expectant prayer, and is cheered on to engage the harvest.
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