Mission - Commissions - MISSIO
The Ten Priorities in Evangelism
(From the MISSIO Report on the Mid-point Review of the Decade of Evangelism)
The reports from around the Communion identified the following issues
as priorities to be addressed in the second half of the Decade.
- Issues of Training and Nurture
The issue identified as top priority was the need to revise the training,
nurture and formation of clergy, so as to prepare them to participate and
give leadership in evangelism. Equipping and empowering the laity
was also emphasised. Both clergy and laity need opportunities to
gain confidence in telling their faith stories. Clergy in particular
need encouragement and help to engage in on-going theological formation.
- Issues of Spirituality and Worship
There was a strong call for freer worship and contextualised liturgy. Our
common pattern of Anglican liturgy has helped to bind us together, but
needs to be revised to reflect local cultures. Evangelistic endeavours
need to be undertaken under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and should
be strongly supported and surrounded by personal and corporate prayer.
Personal devotion and communal worship lie at the heart of renewal in evangelism
- which often includes 'spiritual warfare'. Clergy and lay leaders
need training in this direction.
- Repentance and Humility
There was an acknowledgement that humble repentance is a necessary precondition
to bold evangelism. In each part of the Communion there is a need
for the Church to repent of its past and present sins, and this is an on-going
process which may in some cases involve restitution.
- The Role of Lay People
The central role of the laity in evangelism was strongly affirmed. There
is a need not merely to give tasks to lay people, but rather, to empower
them by truly delegating authority and encouraging and enabling them to
get on with the job in their homes, places of work and daily lives. The
important role of women in witness was particularly highlighted. In
many parts of Africa, especially West Africa, women lead the Church's mission
in its social and spiritual aspects, largely through the work of Mothers'
- A Church Open To All People
Local congregations/Christian communities need to become more welcoming,
nurturing and open to all people. They also need to provide neighbourhood,
house-oriented or 'cell' groups which newcomers can join. The hierarchical
structures of our Anglican Church need to be modified to allow a more equitable
sharing of responsibilities.
- Leadership and Visioning
Delegates called for strong and prophetic leadership from the bishops
of the Communion. There is a need for bishops to demonstrate their
commitment to evangelism, and to articulate a clear evangelistic vision.
They carry a responsibility as vision-bearers for the Communion.
There was a strong call to explore and harness ways of ministering with
the youth, both implementing whatever changes are needed in order to attract
youth, as well as the need for affirming and encouraging youth in the work
of evangelism and in their spiritual and moral formation.
- Co-operation with other Christians
Mention was made of evangelism in co-operation with other Churches or
individual non-Anglican Christians. In the second half of the Decade,
provinces need to reassess their ecumenical co-operation in evangelism.
- Other Faiths, Ideologies, Unreached People
There was special concern about strengthening our witness among people
of other faiths. Mention was also made of the challenge of materialism
and secularism. We should support efforts to reach the unreached
both in the modern and mega cities of the wealthier parts of the world
and in the less developed places.
- Issues of Social and Environmental Justice
Evangelism is the central task given to the Church, and it was felt
that this means a call to live like Christ in concern for the poor, the
weak, the oppressed and the Creation, and in working to overcome structures
and systems that perpetuate poverty, oppression and environmental degradation. Within
the Church it was felt that provinces and dioceses should reflect their
commitment to the vision of becoming a movement for mission by giving mission
a priority place in their budgeting.
Practical Suggestions for Mobilising the Church
Working groups at the Conference suggested some practical ways to help
the Church address the emerging issues and future directions identified
above. These suggestions need to be adapted to fit local situations.
- Seminary Training
There needs to be a Communion-wide review and revision of seminary curricula
and staffing to prioritise evangelism. to shift the church from maintenance
to mission, we need to put mission at the heart and as the motivating force
in ministerial formation.
- Exchanges of Personnel
These exchanges should increase, and can happen in a variety of ways
and in all directions.
- Team and Group Visits
These are short-term, focused visits, to meet specific requests.
- Translation and Adaptation of Resources
There is a need for more resources in languages other than English,
and in culturally sensitive adaptations.
- Sharing Stories
We would be helped by hearing one another’s stories, including
faith stories and accounts of successful and unsuccessful efforts in evangelism.
- Regional Gatherings
Gatherings are one of the important ways we meet each other, encourage
and support each other, exchange our stories, and celebrate our oneness
and rich diversity.
- Electronic Networking
We need to make the best possible use of the technology that is available.
- Evangelism Assessment/Evaluation
This process involves setting measurable goals and then assessing how
well we are doing in fulfilling these.
The Church at all levels should budget sufficient funds to enable the
work of evangelism. Examining our budgets is one way of measuring our commitment
- Mission Structures and Programs
The programs and structures, which have been established to assist the
Church throughout the Communion to fulfil its broad mission goals, should
be modified as necessary to assist with current evangelism needs.
- Ecumenical Endeavours
Local parishes and dioceses need to be encouraged to approach the evangelistic
task ecumenically, in co-operation with other Christians in their own communities.
Questions to help us move forward
These questions are intended to stimulate thought, leading to positive
action. They should be adapted as necessary for local situations.
For the Anglican Consultative Council: Sharing of Resources:
What and where are the identifiable resources, human and material, that
can be used for evangelism, and how can these be effectively shared around
Language and Translation:
Are some language groups in the Communion being marginalised in the
study of theology and at conferences, and what can be done to correct this
Does the evangelism budget adequately reflect the priority of this Decade
Vision and Encouragement:
Evangelism is the cutting edge of mission. What is your vision
for the spread of the gospel, recruitment, training and sending of labourers
for the on-going task of mission? (See MISSIO's letter to the Bishops of
How central is the practical training in evangelism in the curriculum
of your institutions of lay and clergy training?
How do you encourage your people to adapt liturgy to better reflect
your culture and the local situation and to make worship a more lively
and creative encounter with God?
Sensitivity to Local Needs:
What do people find attractive in your congregation?
In what ways can you improve your welcome to others?
Building Confidence for Evangelism:
How does your parish help members to share their faith at home, at work,
with neighbours and in the wider society?
Look at the list of emerging issues and practical suggestions. In each
list which are the top three priorities for you in your situation? Do
you have any other priorities? What will you do about them?