Am I ready to be a mission pioneer?

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Guest blogger Sophie Tucker has just started on the lay pioneer training programme in St Albans diocese, CMS’s latest partnership to provide locally-based pioneer training. She has been recommended and has thoroughly prepared – so why is she feeling so nervous?

My box from St Alban’s Diocese has arrived.

I open it to find tea and coffee bags plus chocolate and popcorn for our breaks, ‘The Art of Conversation’ question cards for the ice breaker, some coloured card for making a cube, a superhero themed prop for the zoom photoshoot and some pipe-cleaners because, well, it’s church. I’ve finished the course text and read various other suggested texts. I’ve printed off the relevant sheets for the induction. I’ve even cut and pasted the zoom link into my browser window, an hour before the session starts. I couldn’t be more prepared for this course… so why am I feeling so nervous?

While I make the template for my cube I think about my journey to this point.

I had only been in my new church a few weeks when I realised it wasn’t for me; I was used to a more contemporary experience. I didn’t really fit in but the children’s provision was excellent so I figured I would stick it out for a while. But the vicar saw something in me and suggested the Lay Leader of Worship training which I completed in 2017.

Before long I was involved in all kinds of activities with the church and someone from the diocesan team suggested the CMS pioneer mission course because they also saw something in me. I met with two of the facilitators, and they too saw something in me and accepted me on the course. That’s four out of four confident yeses…  so why am I feeling so nervous?

My cube is made so I put the kettle on. I think I’ll save the fruity teabags from the box for this afternoon. I need a proper cup of tea right now.

As I jiggle on my seat wondering if it is too early to ‘launch meeting’ I think about the books I’ve read in preparation for this course. Being a poor reader, I feel a sense of achievement that I have done more reading in the past three months than I have in a very long time. I look at the notes I have already taken and wonder what we are going to be asked to do in the induction. I have already checked what evidence of learning is required for each module and that it isn’t just essay writing – that would not work for me. I’ve done the research, I know I am more than capable… so why am I so nervous?

I log onto the zoom call about 20 minutes early and see the familiar holding screen so I make myself another cuppa and wait, the nerves still making me jiggle in my seat and then the now familiar ding dong.

That’s when I realise it’s not nerves, it’s energy, it’s excitement, it’s everything coming together at the right time, in God’s time. I am where I am supposed to be and I am ready. I am training to be a Mission Pioneer – bring it on!

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ANVIL journal of theology and mission

Volume 37 issue 1 is out now. The theme is mission and the arts, with reflections from practitioners including David Blower, Ian Adams and Lou Baker.

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