Personality of a Movement

Learn about the core values that make Pioneers what it is.


Steve Richardson


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June 28, 2019


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Check out this article, Personality of a Movement: Steve Richardson reflects on the core values that shape the unique personality of Pioneers and help establish churches in diverse and difficult places.


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When I first joined Pioneers decades 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 a 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 to 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 people groups—populations with the least opportunity to hear and understand the life-giving message of the gospel. Our passion is to go to such groups, in places 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 churches

We work in close partnership with the local church, both in the sending process and 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.

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