FCP 12 | Jon Wiest, Center for Pioneers

January 20, 2022


    There are thousands of pioneers sitting in congregations across North America. They need to be mobilized. The Pioneer Training Center provides online coaching and training for pioneer leaders. Groundswell works with pastors to identify the pioneers in their congregations and then enrolls them in the Pioneer Training Center. The center is designed to help pioneers discover their calling, develop the tools necessary to fulfill that calling, and then works with pastors to deploy them on mission. 

    Listen to Episode 12 of the podcast and access the show notes below.

    Future Church Insights:

    1. Jon explains what the Center for Pioneers is.
    He explains that there felt like a gap between helping people connect with others, and make disciples of others – a disciple maker – and becoming a church planter. And that gap is where they put pioneers. The center is a training program that helps pioneers fill that gap.

    2. Jon also speaks to a uniqueness of being called to be a Pioneer.
    So a disciple maker is really zeroed in on a handful of individuals, whereas a pioneer has in their heart, a group of people. So a pioneer is a missionary disciple, called to engage and reach a group of people that are uncomfortable or unfamiliar with the established church. And that’s just a key delineator, that pioneers feel called to a neighborhood. They feel called to network. They feel called to a group. Whereas a disciple maker, it’s that person you’re working with, or that neighbor across the street; it’s usually more of an individual. 

    3. Jon explains the process of the Center for Pioneers.
    They have step one, step two, step three; we build relationships with districts and local churches. Those pastors go through a really simple module, called Building a Pioneer Pipeline. They learn kind of how to spot pioneers in their congregation. We work on kind of what that vision looks like. The pioneers that they find have to go through an application process. It’s not super hard, but it’s just, we want to have some references. We want to know these pioneers are connected to a local body, and have the spiritual ability to do this. They get accepted into the program. They enroll, and there’s then the Basic Training Module, which is the nine month, initial engagement.

    Goals and Desired Outcomes of Center for Pioneers

    1. Develop a tool “Characteristics of Effective Pioneers” to help pastors identify and select pioneers from their congregations.
    2. Establish a partnership with 50-100 pastors/churches that send pioneers to the Pioneer Training Center. Our goal is to train 100+ pioneers in the first year of training.   
    3. Develop 20 sessions of content (Pathwright and Zoom) that helps pioneers move from the “discover” to “develop” to “deploy” phases of ministry. Each online session will be half teaching and half interaction and coaching. Sessions would occur online every other week from September 2021-May 2022. 
    4. Mobilize at least 75% of pioneers to actively engaging a project in their community. 
    5. Provide in-person regional gatherings around the country with alumni and for the sharing of projects/testimonies/worship.



    More of a reader? Download the transcription here.

    Key Quotes from the episode from Jon Wiest:

    “And we’re seeing, just as our culture continues to change over the last few years, this growing sense that if we don’t go and make disciples, if we just wait, so many groups of people are going to be missed.” (13:48)

    “So, part of this whole process is working with pastors to discern, “Who are the pioneers in your congregation? What’s your vision for the ministry? Do you have a vision for launching out multiple, like a network of micro churches? You have a vision for different pockets of outreach? Is it more of an urban vision, to do ministry in the city, and start outreach events?” That’s kind of the process we see.” (14:21)

    “So, look for people that oftentimes are not that happy with the status quo. They wonder, “Why don’t we see this group of people? How come we don’t see that group here?” So missionary-minded.” (11:21)

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