pioneer minister

A Pioneer Minister is someone whose ministry is primarily outside of the existing church. They are tasked with finding new, imaginative and exciting ways to engage with people who otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to explore faith and spirituality. Some Pioneer Ministers are also ordained to administer the sacraments.

Nurturing and leading ‘fresh expressions of church’ amongst those who are exploring discipleship and faith for the first time.


James Henley

Diocese of Monmouth

Who am I and what do I do?
My name is James Henley and I am training for ordained pioneer ministry in Newport. I lead The Lab in Newport, which started as a group of young adults looking to ‘do church’ in different ways. Things have now developed into several different fresh expressions of church including a messy church congregation, a community of young people who are exploring discipleship together.

Training/Qualification to do the role
I originally trained as a youth worker and completed a degree in Applied Theology. I am currently studying a Masters degree as part of my ordination training.

What Ministry means to me
For me, pioneer ministry is exciting, but also a big challenge: it can be really hard work to build meaningful, trusting relationships with the wider community, which requires a huge amount of perseverance. But ultimately when we’re able to see people’s lives being changed for the better, and perhaps even making their first steps in a new journey of faith, it’s incredibly rewarding!