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Where does this fit with mission and ministry?


Jesus ministered to all aspects of people’s lives. Christians are called to do the same. It is a work of transformation: of individuals, of communities and of wider society.

“It’s not the church of God that has a mission, but the God of mission who has a church”.

Effective mission requires:
· recognising that faith is active, not passive and is public not private and needs to be lived out in the public sphere
· analysis – examining need and reading the signs of the times.
· recognising social action as a good in itself not [just] as a means to the end of ‘winning souls’.
· partnership – ecumenical, other faiths and none where there is a common concern.

In the 1980s, the Anglican Consultative Council developed the Five Marks of Mission:
· 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 sustain and renew the life of the earth.

From these, it is clear that the Church’s mission includes pastoral care, social action and engagement with the social, economic and political structures that affect people’s lives. William Temple said that “nine tenths of the work of the Church in the world is done by Christian people fulfilling responsibilities and performing tasks which in themselves are not part of the official system of the Church at all”.[1] Indeed it is estimated that over 23 million hours of voluntary work is undertaken by members of the Church of England each month over and above normal church activities. Mission is also contextual, shaped by the diversity of times, cultures and places in which it is taking place. In the projects described in this study, it is clear that many have originated as a result of identifying a specific local issue arising from local demographic, social, economic or environmental conditions. This may concern groups that are neglected or excluded (by the church as well as by others), such as asylum seekers or homeless people. Or it may be a matter of recognising gaps in existing provision, for example, for ex-offenders and their families or for people with mental health needs.

[1] William Temple, Christianity and the Social Order, Penguin, 1942, p. 18