Five marks of mission

The mission statement for the worldwide Anglican Communion

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 transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and pursue peace and reconciliation
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth

(Bonds of Affection-1984 ACC-6 p49, Mission in a Broken World-1990 ACC-8 p101)

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."

 

Mission-shaped church 

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 is published by Church House Publishing)

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.