The Pioneer Stream of the M.Div. Program at Wycliffe College
When Rowan Williams was the Archbishop of Canterbury, he suggested that the church in the twenty-first century needs to have a “mixed economy” approach to its mission.
On the one hand, existing “inherited” churches need to be helped to become “missional.” That is, they need to understand that their calling is to take part in God’s mission to redeem the world through Christ, and to organise themselves accordingly. This is one half of the mixed economy.
On the other hand, there are places in society—subcultures, geographical areas, and social networks—where there is no church and no Gospel witness, and where existing churches are unlikely to make a connection. In those places, the church needs to nurture “fresh expressions of church,” new Christian communities rooted in the local culture among local people.
This second half of the mixed economy requires a different approach to mission, and a different skill-set in Christian leaders—more entrepreneurial, more adept in relational evangelism, more comfortable in secular culture, and with the ability to start new things.
For some years now, Wycliffe College has been reshaping its programs to prepare graduates for the cultural realities of this era. In particular, we have sought to shape leaders who can work in the first half of the mixed economy and help existing churches turn outwards in mission.
Then, in 2010, the College added a “pioneer stream” to its Master of Divinity to prepare students to minister in the second half of the mixed economy.
Students in the pioneer stream take many of the same courses as other M.Div students, but have additional courses and specialised placements which focus on the distinctive skills they need.
Together, the two streams hold promise of an effective witness to the Gospel in our post-Christian world.
For more information about pioneer training, please contact the Director of the Pioneer Stream, John Bowen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.