An international group representing diverse mission organisations recently got together in India to develop tools that can insure effective implementation of the new mission statement issued last year by the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The group met in Cochin, India from 27 January to 1 February in a meeting organised by the WCC’s Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME). The event was hosted by Metropolitan Dr Geevarghese Mor Coorilos of the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and All the East, current moderator of the CWME.
The new WCC mission statement, “Together towards life: Mission and evangelism in changing landscapes”, prepared by the CWME, is about seeking vision, concepts and directions for a renewed understanding and practice of mission and evangelism amidst changing global landscapes.
The statement draws on insights from Protestant, Evangelical, Orthodox and Roman Catholic mission theology and will be presented at the WCC’s 10th Assembly in Busan, Republic of Korea in autumn 2013.
At the consultation participants worked on study and policy guidelines, as well as training modules on the statement for three target audiences: local congregations and mission groups, national mission boards and global mission bodies, missiology students and missionary trainees.
The study guidelines will be published in the course of 2013. This practical guide on the statement aims to offer “signposts which can help to discern the action of the Spirit in the world – and to join in”, stated the participants.
“The task at hand is to exchange the valuable document we have before us into the currency which is in everyday use in the life of the churches and agents of mission,” said The Rev. Prof. Kenneth Ross, a parish minister of the Church of Scotland.
The CWME hopes for churches and mission organisations to engage with the new affirmation on mission statement by evaluating their mission policy in the light of the statement and devising new directions amid changing ecclesial scenes.
“Mission boards and development agencies have to translate the statement into organisational practices,” said Eva Christina Nilsson, General Secretary of the Swedish Mission Council. She added that it is important for the statement to be made “operational in visible living contexts”.
The Rev Dr Roderick Hewitt from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa highlighted the importance of translating new concepts of mission into a study guide. These guidelines can facilitate theological, ministerial and missional formation and can support a process required for a “radical transformation” of the church and the society, added Hewitt.