RE:QUESTA space for resources to help RE teachers and their students explore the Christian faith
Lat Blaylock, Editor, RE Today
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Different Types of Church Mission
Local, national and global...
Mission: An important goal or purpose that is accompanied by strong conviction; a calling or vocation.
Evangelism: The spreading of the faith through teaching about the religion and helping others.
A missionary is a Christian who is sent into an area to carry out evangelical work (share their faith) and/or other activities, such as helping people living in poverty by providing health care and education. The Church believes that mission and evangelism are important responsibilities because of Jesus' instructions to, “Go throughout the whole world and preach the gospel to all people." Mark 16:15
The early Christians were successful with their missionary work, evangelising to many people from different backgrounds. As such, the early Church grew very quickly and has continued to grow over the centuries.
This growth is because of the missionary and evangelical work the Christian Church continues to do today.
Local Mission and Evangelism
Churches across the world get involved in outreach to their local communities. They set up and fund community projects, along with providing volunteers to help run them. These projects might include helping the homeless, the elderly or providing support to vulnerable adults and children, such as the project run by Glasgow City Mission.
Food banks across the UK are often organised by churches in their local community, as are Street Pastors, who spend time helping people and praying for them.
They also run special events, both religious and social, in order to invite unbelievers to the Church. Many churches run an Alpha Course (see below). Some churches work together, uniting for the common purpose of serving the community. For example, these church networks may take over a local park and put on a special event for Easter. It might involve live music and drama, playing games and eating together.
National Mission and Evangelism
Churches across the UK are connected to each other, particularly those of the same denomination. There are very large events held by Christian groups, often welcoming those from different denominations. These may be conferences, charity and worship events.
During the summer months, special camps for young people are run, such as Dreaming the Impossible and Limitless. At these camps, young people come together from different denominations to play games, worship and listen to teaching about God.
There are churches and organisations which create ideas and opportunities for people to serve their local communities, such as the Salvation Army.
The Alpha Course is an Anglican initiative that is run by many churches across the UK. It has been created to introduce people to the Christian faith. Christians open up their churches, provide a meal, then discuss a different Christian topic each week. At the end of the course, people are invited to become Christians.
Global Mission and Evangelism
Lastly, there are Christian organisations that provide ideas and opportunities to evangelise in different parts of the world. Organisations such as Christian Aid, Tearfund and CAFOD encourage Christians to build a better world. People can go to much poorer countries to help build schools and hospitals, or drill boreholes so that communities can have access to clean water..
They might also show people how to be self-sufficient, teaching them how to set up a business for example, so that they can provide for their families.
Many of these activities, whether local, national and global, are designed to help people, whilst also introducing them to the Christian faith