Church Mission Society is to launch a nationwide listening exercise to find out what Christians think ‘mission is’.
We hope it will uncover some of the myths that have grown up around mission and identify the barriers that prevent people from getting involved.
Starting with this summer’s Christian festivals, we will be asking as many people as possible ‘the big question’ about what ‘mission is’ for them.
Festivalgoers will be able to take part in a short, fun survey using interactive, tactile technology: this will help provide a big picture of the image people have of mission.
Watch this space
At each event, people will also be able to record their own thoughts and stories around mission in our video booth: this will help us reflect more deeply.
Based on what we learn, we will be working on new resources to bust some myths about mission and empower people to join in.
And if you’re not attending any festivals this year, you will be able to join in soon using our online app.
Philip Mounstephen, executive leader of Church Mission Society, explained: “Our central belief is that all of God’s people are called to join in God’s mission but we suspect that many people’s confusion over what ‘mission’ really means is a central factor in their hesitation about getting involved.
“We’re not talking about dropping the word and becoming Church ‘Blank’ Society, but we are seeking to make mission easier to understand and ultimately, be part of.”
We are excited that the mission-focused Liverpool diocese is hosting the first major event of the ‘Mission Is’ campaign.
Mission Is will be launched by the Rt Rev Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool, and Philip Mounstephen at a special event in the Lady Chapel at Liverpool Cathedral on Saturday 13 May 2017, between 10am and 3pm.
Bishop Bayes says: “In Liverpool diocese we’re asking God for a bigger church so we can make a bigger difference. And we believe that God will answer our prayer by unfolding for us what mission is. That process demands that we listen to others and learn from them, locally and worldwide.
“Church Mission Society can help enormously in this listening and learning. As a previous CMS general secretary, Max Warren, said: ‘It takes the whole world to know the whole gospel.’”
Philip Mounstephen says: “Getting more people into mission starts by asking a question to find out what they really think about mission. Our intention is to compile a true picture of how mission is viewed by Christians in this country rather than rely on a hunch or our own assumptions.”
People who participate in the listening exercise will be given the opportunity to develop their own ‘mission pathway’ such as an inspirational personal prayer retreat or monthly articles to challenge and expand their thinking around mission.
Campaign manager Thomas Fowler commented: “Based on what we learn about people’s view of mission, we will develop resources so people can see that mission is for them and join in.”