The Five Marks of Mission

The Five Marks of Mission

Dear Friends,

I hope you have found Eddie Boon’s reflections on evangelism both useful and challenging.  We turn now to a related theme – that of mission.  

The marks of mission were first developed as four marks by the Anglican Consultative Council  in 1984.  A fifth was added in 1990 when, having appreciated the missiological and Biblical implications of the creation and environmental crisis, the Anglican Consultative Council decided that a new mark of mission that captured this understanding was inevitable. The Five Marks of Mission have won wide acceptance among Anglicans and other Christian traditions and have given churches around the world a practical and memorable “checklist” for mission activities. They are not a final and complete statement on mission but they offer a practical guide to the holistic nature of mission.  

The United Reformed Church recognised them in its Growing Up report in 1999 and they are the staple of many ministerial students’ mission studies.  Graham Adams, a minister of the Congregational Federation and tutor at Northern College has reworked the Five Marks of Mission in his recent book Holy Anarchy (SCM, 2022) using liberation and ecological theology themes.  He renders them as:

  • Hear the groans of creation to discern the damage done to it by the structures and practices of Empire.* Expose, subvert and transform these patterns.
  • Hear the cries of the oppressed, exploited and excluded to discern the harm caused by the structures and practices of Empire. Expose, subvert and transform these patterns.
  • Attend to the needs of those bruised by such systems of domination, in all their forms (economic, racial, gendered, sexual, ableist), and all who are grieving, wearied and unwell.
  • Build communities of good news in which we learn together how to decolonise our (un)consciousness and commit to an alternative solidarity which has room for all.
  • Witness to this alternative solidarity in the stories we tell, believing in the good news of Empire’s subversion at the hands of God’s awesome weakness.

* Empire being the systems/ patterns/ habits of domination which we live within and which colonise our thinking as much as our structures.

We’ve simplified the language a little as we work through each of these themes.

Over the next five weeks a diverse group of ministers and thinkers will look at these five marks of mission and write about them from their own contexts – which range far and wide in our global and ecumenical interconnectedness.   Graham will write the first reflection for each week and then five others will continue to reflect on that mark with their own unique theological, cultural and mission perspectives.

I hope you find them stimulating.

With every good wish

Andy

The Rev’d Andy Braunston
Minister for Digital Worship
 

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