Mission and Evangelism
"Mission goes out from God. Mission is God's way of loving and saving the world..." (Lambeth Conference 1998, Section II p121).
As Christians we follow Jesus who said "As the Father has sent me, so I send you." (John 20.21). We are called to serve God's mission by living and proclaiming the good news. "It's not the church of God that has a mission, but the God of mission who has a church".
For Anglican Christians God's mission is about transformation - transforming individual lives, transforming communities and transforming the world. As we follow Jesus Christ, we believe that God's mission is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in three ways: through the Bible, through the tradition and life of the Church, and through our own listening, praying, thinking and sharing as we respond to our own context.
Five marks of mission
In 1984 the Anglican Consultative Council (www.anglicancommunion.org
) began to develop a "mission statement" for the worldwide Anglican communion, and the bishops of the Lambeth Conference adopted these "Five Marks Of Mission" in 1988. They were then adopted by the General Synod of the Church of England in 1996.
To proclaim the good news of the Kingdom
To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
To respond to human need by loving service
To seek to transform unjust structures of society
To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain the life of the earth
The Anglican Consultative Council notes
"The first mark of mission… is really a summary of what all mission is about, because it is based on Jesus' own summary of his mission (Matthew 4:17, Mark 1:14-15, Luke 4:18, Luke 7:22; cf. John 3:14-17). Instead of being just one of five distinct activities, this should be the key statement about everything we do in mission."
In 2004 the General Synod commended the report "Mission-shaped church" to the whole of the Church of England. Building on the five marks of mission, this report speaks of five values for a missionary church:
A missionary church is focused on God the Trinity
Worship lies at the heart of a missionary church, and to love and know God as Father, Son and Spirit is its chief inspiration and primary purpose…
A missionary church is incarnational
It seeks to shape itself in relation to the culture in which it is located or to which it is called…
A missionary church is transformational
It exists for the transformation of the community that it serves, through the power of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit…
A missionary church makes disciples
It is active in calling people to faith in Jesus Christ…it is concerned for the transformation of individuals, as well as for the transformation of communities.
A missionary church is relational
It is characterized by welcome and hospitality. Its ethos and style are open to change when new members join.
"Mission-shaped church" pp.81-2
These values are an outworking of the traditional Declaration of Assent which Anglican clergy, readers and licensed lay workers make on taking up a new appointment. The Declaration speaks of the faith we hold, "which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation".
The Church is committed to encourage these "fresh expressions of church" and they may be seen in many places, contexts, neighbourhoods and networks, alongside the traditional worship and work of Christians in the church and in the world. "Mission-shaped church" is full of examples. (for more details of the book, see www.chpublishing.co.uk
Evangelism is about enabling personal awakening of faith in Jesus Christ. It involves sharing that faith person to person so that people have the opportunity to respond freely to the Gospel (good news) of God's love in their own setting. It is a key part of the wider Christian mission.
In the 1990s, the "Decade of Evangelism", the church explored appropriate ways to share faith in God in our culture and context, so that people might hear and respond to the good news of Jesus in ways that made sense for them, and so that their questions and problems could be honestly faced and discussed.
Now, in the new millennium, the lessons of the Decade are being refined and put into practice as we learn together how to fulfil St Peter's words:
"…in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and reverence." 1 Peter 3:15,16 (New Revised Standard Version of the Bible)
Contacts & Links
Most dioceses have appointed missioners whose task is to help the whole Church to fulfil its mission and to share its faith courageously and courteously. If you want to contact any diocesan missioner to find out about the Church of England's mission and the sharing of faith where you are, email firstname.lastname@example.org
and we'll let you have local contact details.
The mission agencies of the Church of England are concerned with mission worldwide as well as in this country. To tap into their experience and creative skill in mission, visit the Partnership for World Mission site.
For details of our approach to evangelism among children please see the web pages of Evangelism among Children.
For information about the mission & evangelism dimension of our ecumenical partnerships, visit www.gfe.org.uk
For resources and information of value to evangelists and practitioners visit www.evangelism.net