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What is a Development Officer?

Learn more about Mark Rodel, our Development Officer for Fresh Expressions and Pioneer Ministry 

What is the main focus of your job?

It’s my job to encourage, resource and support entrepreneurial mission communities and those that lead them across the Diocese in their experimentation with new forms of Christian community and to help those communities share their learning with each other. The aim of this work is ultimately to multiply missional experimentation so that we can see even more generous engagement with our communities; growth in the number of people following Jesus and the deepening of faith, prayer and worship in places and communities that we’ve struggled to reach up to now.

What do you most enjoy about your work?

I’m loving meeting people around the Diocese as they share the stories of what God is doing in their neighbourhood and the courage and joy they’re finding as they dare to join in. I’m also moved by people’s realism about the challenges they face because the surprising discovery is so often that in realising of the impossibility of our task we find renewed hope and faith in God.

What do you find challenging about your role?

The opportunities for me to get involved are so many that it can feel overwhelming at times. I’m having to rapidly relearn all my strategies for managing and prioritising tasks so that I can sustain my energy and capacity in the midst of a demanding schedule. Everything and everyone is new to me at the moment. That’s exciting but I’m also pretty bushed at the end of the working day! I need to make sure I can give my best attention to the rest of my family too as they adjust to a new home, as well as new places of study and work.

How does your role work fit into Ely2025?

My work is connected to all the five levers of the Diocesan strategy. Helping people to pay attention together to the work of God around them nurtures confidence. I’m directly engaged in developing entrepreneurial Christian communities and leaders; participating in God’s mission brings us close to the source of our life and health. The Church has most often grown when it has engaged with issues of justice; new Christian communities frequently emerge around our service with the community. Mission entrepreneurship frequently takes us out of the safety of our existing buildings; at the same time it inspires some of the most imaginative endeavours in creating different sorts of sacred space. Leaning into the places we find it hardest to engage requires the targeting of support and resourcing.

What brought you to the Diocese of Ely?

This is a Diocese with a bold and courageous commitment to the fostering of a mixed ecology of church; there is a desire to foster dynamic learning relationships between existing and new Christian communities. That is evident in the coming together in the previously discrete ministry and mission departments and in the unswerving resourcing of experimentation alongside established forms of church. It’s also embodied in the partnership between my own role and Phil Marsh’s as Development Officer for Inherited Church. It’s this commitment to ‘treasures old and new’ that brought me here.

I couldn’t do my job without ...

It’s great to work in such a dynamic team. It’s led in a highly enabling style by Linda Church and functions highly effectively thanks to the fantastic work done by the organising team of Denise Thompson, Wendy Ivey and Zoë Cutter. The work being done by colleagues with other specialisms – children and families, youth, learning communities, vocations and ministry development (Debbie Hill, Olivia Coles, Natasha Clark, Lauren Randall, Megan Daffern, Steve Mashford and Steve Rothwell) – is truly inspiring. It’s also highly enriching to have members of the Changing Market Towns team (Mike Booker and Janet Sutton-Webb) among our number too, sharing their learning as they see the impact of the investment being made there. As well as enjoying the privilege of working with a close friend in Phil Marsh, I continue to be challenged and stimulated by his theological and practical wisdom and insight.

What do you do to relax or have fun?

Aside from my work and family, my great passions are food, art, music and film. I’m not afraid to admit that I love watching the telly too, especially stand-up comedians and surreal comedy like Reeves and Mortimer and the Mighty Boosh. I also couldn’t function without the occasional night out throwing some dad-dance shapes on the dancefloor.

How do people get in touch with you?

I’m always delighted to journey out to visit people where they are and to explore with them what God is doing; to help them find out how God is calling them to join in. Give me a ring on 01353 652732 or email me


Page last updated: Friday 15th November 2019 11:28 AM
First published on: 14th November 2019
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