mission shaped church
is whether new members are drawn into ministry. The `planting' team
should begin to share power with those they are seeking to reach, at an
early stage. Training or coaching involves the empowerment of one person
by another through teaching skills and releasing the novice to use them.
Mentoring can imply a much deeper process in which, in a trusting
relationship, character issues are addressed and underlying principles
learned, equipping the mentored to take initiatives that the mentor may
not be capable of. Wherever church planting and fresh expressions of
church are cross cultural this is essential, and is a key strategy to ensure
A number of plants and projects have failed or been severely weakened
by inappropriate appointments when the pioneer leader has left. Second
generation leadership is crucial to long term health. When a new parish
priest is appointed attention is given to the tradition and wishes of the
parish with the vacancy, although, once appointed, a new priest is expected
to bring new vision. This is a particularly delicate balance when it comes
to the appointment of the second generation leader of a church plant.
A domineering style of leadership is usually disastrous. Particular attention
needs to be given to the original vision, and to the developing style and
ethos of the plant or project. The next leader should be appointed to enrich
the vision, not to lead the work in a different direction.
It will often be the case that a new leader should be recruited from outside.
However, more consideration should be given to the possibility of the next
leader emerging from the established team and, as necessary, being given
further training in context.
Priority attention needs to be given by the Church of England to the
identification and training of leaders for pioneering missionary projects.
The possibility of a call to such work needs to be specifically identified in
the vocational process. Just as potential theological educators are identified
during the selection process, so potential missionary leaders should be
identified among ordinands and trainee Church Army evangelists. A course,
college or other institution with specialist training skills should be identified
within each region, to provide key training modules. Similarly, training
curacies and similar key first posts should be provided with proven leaders
of church plants and fresh expressions of church. It is then important that
they are not pressed into becoming ministers of existing churches, but are
deployed in pioneering contexts.