Fit for Mission Solution 1 - Developing our discipleship culture – Cultivate

First published on: 19th November 2021

Last week we shared more about Fit for Mission 2 and the next stages of consultation around the six solutions.

The first solution is developing our discipleship culture which is focused on starting, leading and growing new worshiping communities and justice initiatives locally.  Our experience shows us that with the right training and ongoing support we can successfully plant these to reach a wider cross-section of society.  These will include justice focussed groups that combine worship and social action, which particularly appeal to younger disciples.

A programme has been developed, called Cultivate, that enables lay people to explore what it would mean to lead in this way, and be supported well as they take up the challenge and this week, we wanted to share more with you about how Cultivate started and developed.


What is Cultivate?



Cultivate is a development programme for lay leaders. It seeks to enable the growth of missional leaders and the planting of new worship communities and justice initiatives.  It began five years ago in a grassroots church-planting context (Gateway, in Wigan) by Revd Frank Hinds, who developed it because of a pressing need to grow and support a range of emerging lay leaders. 

Only weeks after it was launched in Gateway it was rolled out across Wigan, and a variation of Cultivate has been used in the Joshua Centre.  In the intervening years that early, rough, raw package has been developed extensively, and well over 100 potential and emerging leaders have now gone through Cultivate. 


What does Cultivate aim to achieve?

We talk about Cultivate being a “seed bed” for lay leaders, seeking to enable leaders to be developed, discipled and deployed into missional contexts.  Those three ‘D’ words are very important—Cultivate is like a three-legged stool, it attempts to combine development of leaders alongside their missional discipleship, and alignment with a localised planting plan, a planting strategy.    

It does this through five key tools:

  1. Cultivate (a pioneer leadership development programme)
  2. The Leader Maker (a tool that encourages and enables clergy and other key lay leaders to be Cultivate Mentors)
  3. The Planting Pipeline (a workshop that enables the identification of planting goals)
  4. The Pyramid Review (a review and development tool for worship community leadership teams)
  5. Activate (a missional discipleship programme).   

These five tools are the building blocks of the Cultivate Pathway, and this Pathway seeks to take emerging and potential leaders through a series of developmental steps, as well as working with Cultivate Mentors (clergy and key lay leaders) and local leadership teams.  

How does Cultivate work?

We talk about working in partnership not in parallel with local clergy—it isn’t about outsourcing leadership development, but about enabling local clergy leaders to mentor and develop their own leaders.  Therefore, we work with clergy (and key lay leaders) to give them the information and tools to be a Cultivate Mentor, whatever their experience of planting.

Cultivate is not a course (even though it contains a course!) but a supported pathway. It adopts a multi-faceted approach, using prayer, mentoring, training and retreat in weekly, monthly, termly and annual rhythms. 

It seeks to use the support of peers, the intensive supervision of a mentor, and the input from experienced church planters in order to develop leadership, grow character, sharpen skills and increase fruitfulness. 

It ultimately aims to enable pioneer leaders to plant and to build the kingdom of God in this generation!


How can I find out more?

You can hear more from Frank around the inspiration for Cultivate by watching this short film and as this solution moves forward, Frank will be arranging to meet with church communities from across our Diocese to talk more about the programme, share the learning so far and talk to you more about how you can get involved.

Powered by Church Edit