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What is mission all about?

The Grove Evangelism series is taking a slight change of direction by incorporating thinking about mission into its agenda of practical evangelism, working in partnership with CMS. As part of this, the latest title is an exploration of mission and evangelism from a theological perspective. It is written by Tim Naish, who teaches at Ripon College Cuddesdon, having himself had a range of mission experience. Tim begins with an exploration of biblical terms—starting by noting that ‘mission’ is not one of them!

Broadly speaking, there are two ways of beginning to explore the meanings of words: their derivation and history, or their present use. One reasonable place for Christians to start down the former path is with the Bible. However, looking at three representative modern English translations, we nd the word ‘mission’ only once in each: in the NRSV and NIV at Acts 12.25, and in the New Jerusalem Bible at Acts 20.24. In all three cases it translates the Greek word diakonia (elsewhere usually rendered as ‘ministry’ or ‘service’).

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What does church planting achieve?

One of the key changes that has been introduced as part of the Renewal and Reform programme within the Church of England is in the way that Church Commissioners’ money is distributed to dioceses. Instead of all of it being allocated using a formula determining need, part of it now is distributed as Strategic Development […]

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How do we reach the under 40s?

Here in the Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham, we are just completing our diocesan conference at Swanwick, and it has been focussed on issues around our aspirations for growth under the heading ‘wider, younger, deeper.’ This includes seeing, by 2023: 7,000 new disciples in the Church of England in this diocese; 1,000 new young leaders; a […]

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Does growth need management?

Over the weekend, two articles appeared in the Guardian by Harriet Sherwood, citing Martyn Percy’s disagreement with the direction the Church of England is apparently taking. The first cites comments from the conclusion to a forthcoming book, which appears to express Martyn’s overall discontent. One of Britain’s senior theologians has warned that the Church of England […]

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Does setting targets help with growth?

Last Saturday I attended our Diocesan Synod—and came away having had a fascinating and absorbing time. (I am not sure I had ever anticipated saying that about a Diocesan Synod!) The first half of the meeting was what you might usually expect. We receive annual reports from across the diocese, the most important being the […]

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Can the C of E do evangelism?

One of Justin Welby’s personal commitments for his time in office is to prioritise evangelism. With the Archbishop of York he set up the Evangelism Task Group as part of Archbishops’ Council, and it reported to Synod earlier this month. Introducing it, Welby emphasised the centrality of evangelism to the life of the church: On […]

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Is Church decline the fault of evangelicals?

Last week Mark Woods posted an intriguing article asking whether evangelicals are to blame for the decline in people claiming to be ‘religious’. He is responding to a new survey conducted on behalf of Linda Woodhead which shows that, for those under 40, ‘no religion’ is the new religion. In a strange way, this might be […]

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