Personality of a Movement
Exploring Core Values
By Steve Richardson
When I first joined Pioneers more than 30 years ago, three of its core values attracted me personally: a focus on the unreached, doing ministry as a team, and the freedom to be innovative and creative in developing a strategy. Other members of Pioneers would probably identify different values as their favorites. This reflects the diversity God has given our movement.
The purpose of a set of core values is not to express everything that is important about an organization but to highlight a few key priorities.
What, then, are the priorities that make Pioneers unique?
Keeping God First
First, we have passion for God. We are committed to knowing Him, trusting Him and glorifying Him in everything we do around the world. This will be reflected in our dependence upon prayer and our enthusiastic obedience of His Word. We want to be a group of people who are genuinely led by God.
Focused on the Unreached
We believe that the primary task that God has called us to is ministry among unreached peoples—those groups remaining in the world who have the least opportunity to hear and understand the life-giving message of the gospel. Our passion is to go to such groups, where others have not already had the opportunity to lay a foundation.
A Vision for Movements
Our third core value reflects our primary task among the unreached: initiating church-planting movements. We look to God to bring healthy gatherings of disciples that multiply and transform a whole people group by the gospel.
Gracious toward One Another
In Pioneers, we relate to one another with an ethos of grace. In all our relationships, we endeavor to cultivate an atmosphere of mutual acceptance, which encourages each of us to attain our full potential in Christ. We value the uniqueness and contribution of each individual and culture represented. Often we let people “give it a go” even if there is a chance of failure, in the hopes that they will ultimately succeed.
In Partnership with the Church
We work in close partnership with the local church, both in the sending process as well as in our fields of ministry. We serve sending churches by being an excellent partner in facilitating their overseas ministries. And where there are national churches with a heart for the unreached, we partner with them in the task.
We strive to focus on relationships rather than policies. This takes effort and communication, but the benefits are significant.
Working in Teams
Our approach and structure are team centered. By and large, we do not send individuals but whole teams—teams made of members from around the world. As these semi-autonomous teams pursue effective ministry strategies, they encourage and sharpen one another, demonstrating godly relationships before those who do not yet believe.
Using Creative Approaches
Sometimes, we need innovation and flexibility to gain access and effectively minister to unreached peoples. The goal is crystal clear. The path to reaching it is largely left to the team. Pioneers missionaries and tentmakers around the world use all kinds of approaches.
Serving Each Other
Finally, Pioneers emphasizes a participatory servant leadership style that is team-based (decentralized) and involves an interactive approach to decision-making based on trust. We strive to focus on relationships rather than policies. This takes effort and communication, but the benefits are significant.
It is possible that, taken individually, not one of Pioneers’ core values is unique. Taken together, however, they form a unique personality specially tailored by God to help establish churches in diverse and difficult places around the world.
Will you join us? Our mission mentors will listen to your story and pray with you in your next steps.
More about Pioneers
- Look at our photo essay, Remembering What God Has Done.
- Watch the video Why Go With a Mission Agency? and see how Pioneers answers 21 questions to ask a mission agency.
- Explore ways you can use your skills serving with Pioneers.
Stories from the pursuit
Video – Who Is a Missionary?
What is a missionary? And is everyone supposed to be one? Is missionary even a biblical word? Definitions matter. Find out why.
Article – What Is Church Planting?
Church planting is central to Pioneers. Our mission statement and core values make that clear. But how does this priority work itself out on the ground?
Video – Lost Versus Unreached
Lost. Unreached. Words Christians use to describe people who aren't followers of Jesus. Where do these terms come from and what's the difference?