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By Mike Toth

Romans 15:20:  It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else’s foundation (New International Version)

Ted Fletcher, a manager with the Wall Street Journal who had long supported Christian missions, started Pioneers in 1979. Ted felt the Lord impressing upon him the need for missionaries to go even further afield than those in established missions, to reach previously unreached people groups. He applied to many mission organizations and after 25 rejections he took the advice that many of those organizations gave him: He pioneered one himself. In 1994 Pioneers came to Canada when the first of (eventually) several mission organizations agreed to amalgamate.

As befits the name of the organization, the process for becoming a “Pioneer” is a bit different. Traditionally, mission organizations taking on new missionaries look to fill existing openings. Pioneers looks to come alongside people and churches to see their vision and passion to plant churches among unreached people groups fulfilled. There are literally thousands of groups who have yet to be reached with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pioneers has several options for those who are answering the Lords’ call to make disciples of all men. There are 8-12 week summer missions for young adults called “Edge,” trips of up to one year called “Venture,” and the long-term missions for which the organization was created.

The path that the current Director of Pioneers Canada took to becoming a Pioneer is fortunately not typical. James Kim was a businessman in Baltimore, Maryland who had led several teams on short-term missions, and had a vibrant ministry to at-risk teens in the neighbourhood of his business. Kim says that he had felt God calling him to mission work full time, and says he had rejected this call as he already had a ministry. As many of us have found out, God is quite persistent when He calls.

“I was shot in the chest during a robbery,” says Kim. “A few days after I was shot it was Easter Sunday, and in the morning, around the time the women would have discovered Jesus’ empty tomb, I saw the tubes connected to me turn into a spear and then myself on the cross. The Lord gave me the verse Galatians 2:20. I then realised that I had been shot on Good Friday at around three in the afternoon, about the time Jesus would had died. I realized I saw my own death and resurrection.” Galatians 2:20 reads: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” James has been serving missionaries ever since.

From humble beginnings Pioneers has developed into a strong and vibrant ministry. Pioneers has 3,100 members on 315 teams in 108 countries with 20 different countries contributing missionaries. Pioneers Canada currently has 107 of that number in the field. As a whole, Pioneers is currently engaging 207 unreached people groups. “My one ambition,” says Kim, “is to show the world that ‘our God reigns.’”

Pioneers looks to work in unity with the local church, rather than competing for resources and people. To that end they are hosting a Church Partners Forum here in London entitled “Diaspora: Ministering to the Scattered” from November 8-10. The forum is open to pastors and mission committee chairs of the local church. If you are interested please contact

You don’t have to go to the mission field to help change lives with Pioneers. Prayer is a huge part of their ministry and you can research how to pray specifically at If you wish to help fund the many teams around the world please go to For further information please go to