A FEW weeks ago I flew over to England to spend time with my ministry colleagues. We all gathered from across the UK. All of them are...

Creative thinkers.
Risk takers.
Committed to the margins.
Leading various ministry projects outside the church walls.
Ministry pioneers.

Pioneers who are thinking and seeking to create church community outside the institutional structures. It was an honour to not only spend time with like-minded colleagues, but their stories inspired and encouraged me, touching the deepest part of my soul.

I was reminded that churches in the New Testament actually started in living rooms with a commitment to following Jesus and making a difference within their communities.

Pioneering work isn't about denigrating the current church institutions, rather it's about simply being called to do church differently. Whether people of faith gather in buildings on a Sunday or in a living room on a Tuesday, or even online, this is the church. Jesus said: 'Where two or three gather in my name – I am there.' (Matt 18:20)
Pioneering ministry in England is very much ahead of us. In Ireland, we have still a lot of catching up to do, but I am truly thankful for the risk takers who are not only challenging some toxic theology, but who are seeking to set up new faith communities outside of the institution. 

Unfortunately, I receive unpleasant messages claiming I am 'not a real Reverend,' not just because of my gender, but because they dismiss and disregard my work, claiming I 'don't lead a real church.' I have been involved in pioneering ministry life for almost 15 years and have many times wanted to throw the towel in, but this weekend away reminded me that we must keep going. 

Ministry life for me isn't about growing a large church. I've learnt small is significant, and every conversation and opportunity to be present with people is such a privilege. I'm thankful for my ministry colleagues who stand with me, and I'm thankful for the pioneers who continue to pave a new way.