Thursday, February 25, 2010

5 Marks of Mission

The so-called "5 Marks of Mission" have really caught on. They are:

  1. To proclaim the good news of the Kingdom
  2. To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
  3. To respond to human need by loving service
  4. To seek to transform unjust structures of society
  5. To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and to sustain the life of the earth

Of course, they're distinctively Anglican - they originally come from the Anglican Consultative Council in 1984, and were adopted by the Lambeth Conference in 1988 and the C of E General Synod.

They way I almost always see them used is that people think that doing one of them means you're doing mission. I guess that's why they are so popular - it means the people who don't think that evangelism is important can still think they are doing mission if they go on about the UN Development Goals or whatever. Which is, of course, complete rubbish.

All the proper presentations of it include this from the original ACC document:

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.

I should probably confess that I don't like the 5 Marks of Mission. Not because I disagree with them - I think they're actually pretty good. But because their use tends to obscure the fact that without verbal proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ, it ain't mission.

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