A series of three webinars (web-based seminars) exploring the theme of pioneering, hosted by the Church of the Brethren and organised together with Urban Expression, Bristol Baptist College and BMS World Mission.
Within the mission of God and among the diverse ministries in the church, pioneering is essential if the Christian community is to keep in step with the purposes of God and resist institutional inertia. The biblical narrative includes many examples of women and men who exercised pioneering roles and a number of designations that have pioneering implications (apostles and prophets are examples). The rapidly changing cultural context in western societies, described in various ways, together with the decline and marginalisation of the church , requires the identification, equipping and deployment of pioneers willing to explore fresh expressions of mission and church. And the world church through the centuries and today offers many examples of pioneering ministry in diverse cultures and contexts. This series of webinars explores the role of pioneers in post-Christendom western societies, offers a biblical/theological foundation for pioneering within the mission of God and reflects on what can be learned from the world church.
The three webinars will run for 90 minutes from 7.30pm on 24 October, 14 November and 11 December.
Juliet Kilpin (24 October)
Juliet Kilpin is one of the coordinators of Urban Expression, an urban mission agency pioneering relevant models of church in Britain’s inner-cities. She is also a development worker for the Mennonite Trust. Juliet started training at Spurgeon’s College 20 years ago and returns regularly as a visiting tutor. She is married to Jim and they have two teenage children. Juliet and Jim have spent twenty-five years involved in or advocating for urban mission. Ten of these years were spent planting a church with the first Urban Expression team in East London. Juliet helps to run a training course called ‘Crucible’ which seeks to equip people to follow Jesus on the margins. She co-authored Church Planting in the Inner City – the Urban Expression Story with Stuart Murray and in March 2013 self-published a collaborative book, Urban To The Core: Motives For Incarnational Mission, which explores the values that have influenced this pioneering agency.
Title: Pioneers – Embracing the Unknown
It takes a skillful initiator to replicate a model of church or mission from one context into another, but it takes a creative, courageous, risk-taking pioneer to imagine something that has not yet been and form it into being. In the rapidly changing context of western societies, how can we identify, equip and deploy the pioneers who will not just replicate, but will prophetically lead us into the unknown, exploring fresh ways of being missional communities. And why is it so important that we do this?
Steve Finamore (14 November)
In addition to his education and training in law and his work as a solicitor, Steve has worked in community development in both inner London and, through Tearfund, the Peruvian Andes. He studied theology and prepared for ministry at Regent’s Park College in Oxford and then completed a doctoral thesis in New Testament. After a 10 year pastorate he became principal of the Bristol Baptist College in 2006. Steve served on Tearfund committees from 1989 till 2006 and during this period he chaired the Latin America committee and acted as a trustee. He has been a trustee of the Baptist Union of Great Britain since the trustee board was formed in 2005. His publications include God, Order and Chaos, and Violence, the Bible and the End of the World. In addition, he is the editor of the collections On Earth as in Heaven; a Theology of Social Action and Wisdom, Science and the Scriptures.
Title: Joining Jesus ‘Outside the Camp’; Pioneering God – Pioneering People of God
The biblical narrative centres people and places who were found at the margins. It tells the story of God’s adventures in those margins. It summons God’s people to join Messiah Jesus outside the camp. The Bible promotes an understanding of God as one who forsakes the centre in order to catalyse life in unexpected places and in new patterns; patterns which are both valuable in their own right and which also point beyond themselves to the fullness of God’s impending reign.
David Kerrigan (11 December)
David Kerrigan is General Director of BMS World Mission. He and his wife Janet joined BMS in 1983, having first qualified as an accountant in industry. David was treasurer of a large mission hospital in Bangladesh and returned to the UK. David returned to the UK in 1988, studied at Spurgeon’s College and served as Pastor at Pinhoe Road Baptist Church, Exeter and rejoined BMS in 1995 as Regional Secretary for Asia, living this time in Sri Lanka. There he had responsibility for BMS work in Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka. He also served for four years as President of the United Mission to Nepal. David returned to the UK in 1999 to become BMS Director for Mission, before being appointed as General Director in January 2009.
Title: Pioneering in a Global Context
Throughout the centuries pioneers have taken the gospel of Jesus Christ into new places and different cultures. Some of these are well-known and their stories have inspired others. Many are unknown and the stories have been forgotten. What can we learn from these pioneers and from those who are pioneering in different global contexts today?