5 Marks of Mission exercise, by Amy Real Coultas

The Diocese of Kentucky met for its 185th Annual Convention Nov 9 & 10. Bishop White framed our work together as our “annual mission gathering” and invited us to turn our traditional workshop times into opportunities to share stories of mission happening across the diocese.  Led by the Rev. Dr. Mary Abrams, Bishop White and the planning team created a rotation that allowed small groups to rotate through each of the 5 Marks of Mission, engaging in a simple bible study and sharing exercise related to each goal.  This same process could certainly work in other contexts, so I thought I’d offer it here. The convention seemed really energized by hearing the stories of work being done in other churches and I heard many people say things like “we should get together and do this more often!”  The bishop and I chose passages from Luke-Acts since we’ll be entering into the “Luke” year in the lectionary.

(See my post about how this tied into our Acts 8 exercise here.)

Here’s what we did:

As part of registration, we were each assigned a group 1-5.  We began with a 15 minute plenary session during which the bishop introduced the 5 Marks of Mission and outlined the process we would follow.  Following orientation, each of us went to the room to which we were assigned.  We stayed in that room for the duration and the facilitators for each mark rotated through all the rooms.  We spent 25 minutes on each mark. The sessions went like this:

  • Introduction of the particular Mark of Mission
  • Reading of the related scripture passage
  • Sharing of what themes stood out for us in the scripture
  • Sharing of how we are living out the mark.  We were given post-it notes for each question. We wrote answers on the post-its and as we shared with the group, we added our post-it to a large paper banner.
    • Question 1: How is this Mark of Mission currently reflecting where you are now in the life and work of your parish? (Current actions)
    • Question 2: What are sone others ways your parish could live into this Mark more fully?  (Future vision)
  • The post-its were all collected under banners for each mark and displayed in the convention hall during our business sessions.  They are being compiled and will be published in the coming days.

Here are the associated scripture passages and brief notes each facilitator used:

Mark 1: Luke 5:1-11.  Themes: casting nets; repentance; hesitance to go out into deeper water; directed by Jesus.

Mark 2: Acts 8:26-40.  Themes: what is to prevent me from being baptized NOW? How do we invite people to baptism? How do we witness to the power of God through baptism that draws others to the front?

Mark 3: Luke 5:17-20.   Themes: bringing needs to Jesus.  Overcoming obstacles, being creative; stopping at nothing, urgency. What are some of the forms of healing?

Mark 4: Luke 3:3-6.  Themes: God’s justice created by crying out in the wilderness.  What wildernesses must be confronted? How do we best prepare the Lord’s Way to change the landscape: valleys filled, mountains and hills brought low, crooked made straight, rough smooth, all so that people see salvation, the wholeness of God?

Mark 5: Luke 20: 9-19.  Themes: the tenants were motivated by greed and were unjust. How do we model sharing resources with neighbors far and near?  Does clean water in Africa begin in Kentucky? What does the youngest generation have to teach us about caring for creation? For the majority of Anglicans worldwide, this mark is very important and signals our willingness to be in relationship.

Read my reflections on the 5 Marks as convention chaplain here.