Mission and Evangelism

Mission is a personal call to follow Jesus Christ and to become his disciple.

Authentic discipleship impels the rediscovery of God’s mission for the fullness of life.


The World Council of Churches Commission on World Mission and Evangelism reflects the richness of global Christianity in its structure and reminds the ecumenical movement of Jesus’ words “that they may all be one… that the world may believe” (John 17:21).

Mission is both part of the church’s essence and the basic task of the church. Whatever forms it may take, it cannot lose its two basic elements: proclamation and diakonia, that is, social responsibility. The church is in the world to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everybody and to serve everybody.

Over the centuries, forms of mission have changed; and during the past two centuries they have become more diverse than ever. As result of mission that was carried out to a large extent by mission agencies, there are now churches all over the world. The emerging global Christianity has become polycentric, with not one centre but many. Mission is not a one-way movement from the centres to the margins, it is also mission from the margins to the centres. According to some estimates, by the year 2050 four out of five Christians will live in the Global South, especially in Africa. This change means diverse manifestations of doctrinal, liturgical, ethical, diaconal and organizational traditions in churches. Churches born out of mission are very often mission-oriented churches, and through their diversity they put the ecumenical movement to the test.


*The WCC webpages related to the WCC “Mission and Evangelism” work will be updated soon, based on the decisions of the “Commission on World Mission and Evangelism” meeting in Nairobi, 5-11 July 2024

The multi-religious, multi-cultural global landscape of our times offers a uniquely enriching as well as challenging space for encounters, mutual sharing and learning, and generating alternative ways of expressing faith and unity, as people seek out ways to reaffirm their respective identities within these rapidly changing social, political and religious realms.

Rediscovering evangelism in this context is essential. Evangelism, being at the heart of the missional dimension of every local church, is at the same time faced with one of the major challenges of our times; making the message of the Good News relevant to all people in all places.

As Christian faith no longer passes “by default” from one generation to the next, addressing evangelism as discipleship is timely. Discipleship in Christ is transforming discipleship; it embraces all dimensions of human existence and the whole of creation, remaining ever relevant to the fundamental, basic needs of the people it addresses in each context. Authentic discipleship impels the rediscovery of God’s mission for the fullness of life. Introducing renewal in missiological formation and thinking, it also points to new paradigms of how transforming discipleship can restore brokenness and injustice, embracing the marginalized, the weak, the oppressed, and all those in pain and suffering.    

Explorations in Evangelism

The new affirmation on mission and evangelism of WCC “Together Towards Life”: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes (2012), highlights the urgency for the church to “renew its methods of evangelism to communicate the good news with persuasion, inspiration, and conviction”. As a response to this call, the project of “Explorations in Evangelism” was initiated by WCC in 2014, operating to the present. This process of regional meetings/seminars, engages directly with the local churches as well as mission centers/agencies operating at the grassroots level, exploring every time the expressions and challenges of their evangelistic mandate in sharing the Good News.

Aware of the urgent task to cultivate the spirit of fellowship and mutual learning in particular within culturally and/or religiously diverse contexts, the Explorations through personal sharing and encounters, exposure visits, case studies and discussions, create the space for constructive reflection on the renewal of the understanding of evangelism and its practices.    

The Council for World Mission (CWM) has been a valuable partner, co-organizing the Explorations since the beginning of this project.


Evangelism in Theological Education and Missiological Formation

Evangelism and Christian education are interrelated in vision and vocation for the renewal of mission and evangelism. Theological education and training on mission and evangelism set the foundation for a solid holistic approach to evangelism; theory in the sense of theological knowledge and praxis in the sense of practically carrying forth evangelistic work should come together. In an inclusive understanding, authentic evangelism entails devoted scholars with solid theological roots and well-equipped practitioners who can promote and enhance work on evangelism at the grassroots.

Fully aware of the importance of renewal in the ways the Gospel reaches people in diverse contexts, and of its intrinsic link with theological education and missiological training, WCC has launched since 2012 a series of five regional consultations on the place of evangelism in theological education and missiological formation. The primary objective of this process is to evaluate the presence and content of evangelism, in different academic contexts, while at the same time enhancing evangelism training programs/projects locally, by encouraging cooperation between academics and practitioners, theological faculties and local churches at the grassroots.


Working group on Transforming Discipleship

Conference on World Mission and Evangelism

Rev.Dr Peter Cruchley
Director, WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism
[email protected]


Kyriaki Avtzi
Programme Executive on Evangelism
[email protected]