Do you know any mission catalysts? People who have the passion, drive, vision and initiative to foster new communities of faith – perhaps in a home, a cafe or pub, an interest or social action group, or among a particular cultural group?

God’s mission is always bigger than us. The Spirit is always at work beyond the gathered congregation. How might faith be shared and Christian community nurtured beyond the reach of our congregations? How do we engage genuinely and humbly with people who may be interested in spirituality but not in institutional religion?

We’re seeking people support, resource and mentor people who are both dreamers and activists.


Our Mission Catalysts project is shared between Port Phillip East and Yarra Yarra Presbyteries, supported by eLM.

We’re hoping to find, train and support a few people each year to be Mission Catalysts, responding to God’s call to embody the good news in word and deed with groups of people beyond the scope of existing congregations.

This is not about the church choosing where to send people, rather it is about supporting people’s sense of call and community.

Research from the UK identifies a number of likely characteristics of such people in terms of their personalities, gifts, outlook and other capacities. This is not a fixed formula. However, based on wider experience, we are most likely seeking people who are self-starters, who think ‘outside the box’, who are ‘people persons’, who have an innovation orientation, who have an evangelical heart in the best sense, who are willing to learn, who travel lightly with the church as an institution, who are more interested in living in the world than spending all their time the church.


We’re hosting a pub conversation called Home brewed about every 6 weeks for people interested in starting new faith communities.

The primary aim is to see who God is calling, and to work alongside those people. The Mission Catalysts project is based in the premise that the Spirit calls people to ministry and mission. In this time and place, God is calling the whole church to foster varied forms of Christian community.

The project is not about ‘church planting’ as such, but rather about diverse, contextual expressions of Christian community. These may include, for example, a community formed around a particular mission or justice concern or project, a contemplative community, a ‘house church’, a new faith community in a school, a gathering of new migrants from a particular culture.

In the first instance we are seeking lay people who see this as a calling as a volunteer. These are not funded positions, although we hope that some will develop into that. We hope that as new faith communities emerge, the presbyteries and their congregations will look at ways to resource them as needed into the future.

We’re also hosting two online seminars with Rev Dr Steve Taylor based on his research into new faith communities – Seeding and Sustaining New Faith Communities – 24 August and 7 September.

In August we’ll also be starting a couple of book groups discussion the book Pioneer Practice by Jonny Baker and others, describing stories and research from the UK.

If you’d like to know more, contact us at

Some Resources

Jonny Baker et al, Future Present, Proost. Free download here.

Jonny Baker and Cathy Ross, Imagining Mission with John V. Taylor, SCM Press, 2020.

David Goodhew, Andrew Roberts and Michael Volland, Fresh!, SCM Press, 2012.

Tina Hodgett and Paul Bradbury, “Pioneering Mission is … a Spectrum” in Anvil: Journal of Theology and Mission, Vol 34: Issue 1.

Karina Kreminski, Urban Spirituality, Urban Loft, 2018.

Dave Male, How to Pioneer, Church House Press, 2016

Michael Moynagh, Church in Life: Innovation, Mission. and Ecclesiology, SCM Press, 2017.

Steve Taylor, First Expressions, SCM Press, 2019.

Uniting Next, Stories and research in missional innovation, Uniting Mission. and Education.

Also these themed issues of Anvil.

Mission Education, Anvil: Journal of Theology and Mission, Vol 36: Issue 2.

Pioneer Ministry and Innovation, Anvil: Journal of Theology and Mission, Vol 34: Issue 3.


Craig Mitchell
Presbytery Minister – Church Development