Kirk seeking new style of pioneering ministers

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A new style of Kirk minister is to be created charged with reconnecting large parts of Scotland with Christianity.

Five new groundbreaking ‘Pioneer Ministry’ posts were approved by the General Assembly with the 46 presbyteries of Scotland’s national church being asked to bid for the new roles.

Rev Neil Dougall, Convener of the Church of Scotland’s Ministries Council, said: “We realise there are many people out there who feel disconnected from the Church but not with God or Jesus.

“We need ministers who can go into areas where there is no Church of Scotland presence, read the needs of the community and bring the benefits of Christianity to them.

“The ideal candidate will have to be a good self-starter and have an entrepreneurial outlook. The Church of Scotland has a long history of pioneering ministry. We are looking for ministers who can bring this pioneering spirit for the benefit of 21st Century Scotland. We’re hopeful we will get some really good bids.”

The move follows the launch last week of the Church of Scotland’s major recruitment drive for new ministers ‘Tomorrow’s Calling’. The video for the campaign has been viewed by almost 40,000 people in the first week on Facebook and YouTube, half of them aged between 15-24 years old.

The key skills being sought for the pioneering roles are the abilities to work with people outside of the traditional Kirk network, an understanding of contemporary culture and a clear idea of how their specific parish can benefit from the Christian message.

Finding new places to worship, rather than in a church, will also be in the remit, with the possibility of using sports clubs and various community venues on the cards.

The talent pool will come from ordained ministers already with the Church of Scotland.

The Pioneering Ministry model has been used by the Church of England since 2007.

The approach has emerged from the Fresh Expressions movement - founded by the Church of England in 2004 - which the Church of Scotland joined in 2013. It aims to bring the message of Jesus Christ to people who have never resonated with it before.