Pioneer Development Officer

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Fixed Term Full Time

The Diocese of Southwark has been on an exciting journey in the past few years as we have explored imaginative and creative ways of being Church. Using the idea of a Pioneer Spectrum we have developed a missional approach to fresh expressions/ new Christian communities that has encouraged innovation, diversity and experimentation.

To embed and encourage this approach within the Diocese the Bishop has created a new department of Pioneering Ministry and Fresh Expressions. By 2025 we expect to have 100 Pioneers (lay and ordained). We have 100 fresh expressions of Church and expect that having a focus on encouraging, resourcing and supporting pioneering will see a significant increase in this number. Pioneering has played a key part in our past two successful Strategic Development Fund (SDF) bids. We wish and expect this focus to continue in future bids.

The post-holder will be part of an exciting new team led by Canon Will Cookson, Director of Pioneering Ministry and Dean of Fresh Expressions. The Diocese has a vision for growth and the new team is expected to play its part in helping the Diocese to grow and innovate. Some of the key ways that we anticipate that this will happen are:

  • Encouraging and supporting Lay and Ordained Pioneer Ministry
  • Growing fresh expressions of Church/ new Christian communities
  • Supporting a culture of innovation and risk taking in the Diocese

The role of Pioneer Development Officer will play a key role in ensuring that our goals are met through supporting churches and lay teams across the Diocese, through consultancy, training and learning communities.

Developing Pioneering and Fresh Expressions

  • Help clergy and lay leaders to identify Pioneers and FX leaders in their churches across the Diocese
  • Help to develop a greater appetite for Pioneering and FX across all traditions, ethnicities and geographies
  • Work with our new Pioneer Hub churches to help them develop and support Pioneers and fresh expressions.

Training and Support

  • Develop and lead learning communities of churches looking to work in mixed-mode
  • Develop and support Action Learning Groups for Pioneers focussed on a particular type of FX/ need
  • Accompany churches involved in Mission Shaped Ministry (MSM) training to help them explore new FX/Pioneering opportunities. Look at how we might use new resources to develop MSM
  • Contribute to training across the Diocese to nourish and support Pioneering and FX
  • Help with developing our Lay Pioneer pathways
  • Help develop mission accompaniment and mentoring for pioneers and FX teams
  • Help with supporting our SDF Pioneers.

Communication, Evaluation and Monitoring

  • Work to share stories and good practise through social media and Diocesan communication channels to encourage and help other fresh expressions and pioneering to develop
  • Work with Strategic & Operational Projects Department to ensure that we can track and evaluate progress and growth

Key anticipated outcomes

  • 100 Pioneers (lay and ordained by 2025) leading to a significant increase of fresh expressions
  • Increased number of fresh expressions of Church across the Pioneer Spectrum
  • Planting new fresh expressions with national/ international significance
  • Pioneers and fresh expressions across traditions, ethnicities and geographies
  • 6 Action Learning Groups focussed on key areas of learning
  • 3-4 learning communities of mixed-mode pioneers

We are seeking someone with a mature Christian faith with a passion for mission and:

  • Exceptional emotional intelligence and communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Passionate about fresh expressions of Church
  • Demonstrable and practical experience of Pioneering/fxC/Contextual mission
  • Experience of Fresh Expressions and/or Pioneering       
  • Able to inspire and influence others
  • An appreciation for, and a commitment to work positively within, the breadth of the Church of England        
  • Excellent communication skills (written and verbal)
  • Able to facilitate conversations with and between different groups     
  • Great networking skills      
  • The ability to think strategically and realise what will make a difference      
  • Experience of building and leading functional, successful teams
  • Able to learn from failures

It would desirable to have an understanding of social media, experience of mission training (especially of the MSM course or similar) and mentoring.  A theology degree or Diploma would also be desirable.

If you would like an informal chat please contact: Canon Will Cookson (email, mobile: 07505 128548)


The Diocese of Southwark, founded in 1905, forms part of the Province of Canterbury in England and is part of the wider Church of England, in turn part of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The Diocese covers primarily the area of Greater London which is South of the Thames, together with the Eastern part of the county of Surrey. It is one of the largest dioceses in terms of population and parishes as well as one of the most diverse.

As a Diocese, we celebrate churches, worshipping communities and fresh expressions of Church, across the full spectrum of traditions, that speak well of each other and support each other as together we seek to deliver a our key objectives.  This diversity and range of contexts within our Diocese means there needs to be more than one approach to missional growth – and this role will be a key feature of our journey towards delivering this growth.

In 2016, the Diocese was awarded a major grant to develop fresh expressions of Church throughout the Diocese and to grow the Church in new development areas, in particular the Nine Elms development on the South Bank in the Vauxhall /Battersea area.

In 2019 the Diocese was awarded a second major grant this time for six specific projects in places identified across the Diocese where there is a clear opportunity for growth and where lessons learned can be replicated to good effect across the Diocese and the wider church.