Entrepreneurs Got Talent

You are sitting amongst a crowd at a conference, the host steps up to the microphone:

“Our next speakers are a dynamic young couple from a lighthouse project we’ve all heard about – they are doing fantastic work together in a strategically critical community where up until now our Church has not had any presence. Many of you will be amongst the hundreds of followers of their prayer blog where they’ve shared written and video diaries for the last two years as the project has developed. Some of you may have even had the chance to go and stay with them and see the community in action firsthand. They were recently visited by groups from the US and UK looking at pioneering ministry and mission. They are becoming sought after speakers and it’s a privilege to have them with us here today. Please make them feel welcome”

The couple glance knowingly at each other with raised eyebrows, looking somewhat uncertain, and then walk onto stage…


  • What do you think might be going through the minds of the young couple in this moment?
  • Have you had a real life experience similar to this one? Which role were you in – the host? The guest speaker? In the crowd?
  • What are some of the positive reasons that we celebrate the success of some projects and ministry practitioners and seek to learn from them?
  • What might be some unintended consequences of doing this?
  • How might external pressure, high expectations and a lot of attention effect the discernment and decision making in a missional project?
  • Would you say the wider church and all its members are stakeholders in your work? What pressure does that generate?
  • What role do innovators play in helping shape the wider Church culture and systems?
  • How might pioneering teams balance the need to focus on the growth and development of their local project vs sharing their story and equipping others across the wider church?

Wisdom from the pews

“Missional or pioneering projects require a great deal of energy and commitment. Any split commitments across placements, or responsibilities on committees and other participation in the wider church can be difficult to balance sustainably with the projects demands. On the other hand, surfacing the learning and insights from practitioners and enabling them to share wisdom and encourage the wider church has significant long term benefits. ”

“Our pioneers do have perspective and understanding that is worth hearing from and it can be a way to affirm them, by asking them to speak or write and shape the learning of others. As with any form of ministry, putting certain projects on a pedestal does create pressure on the participants and their community to be ‘successful.’ ”

“It is important that there is authentic support from the broader church, that is about walking with pioneers during difficult times as well as good times. The goal of any missional innovation is faithfulness to God, not generating inspiring stories of success.”

Going deeper

Theodore Roosevelt - The Arena

Theodore Roosevelt – The Arena

Blessings for pioneers

Fresh Expressions UK has written a fantastic brief series of blessings for pioneers…