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How about 7 Marks of Mission instead?

How about 7 Marks of Mission instead?

The always thoughtful Kelvin Holdsworth, Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow has a recent post on his blog suggesting that the Five Marks of Mission, though good things, may not really get to the heart of how churches can share the good news and grow.

“The trouble with the Five Marks of Mission is that really they should be the Seven Marks of Mission and include five marksMotherhood and Apple Pie. They are clearly good things. They are clearly aspirations that every church should have. The honest truth though is that I’d have been surprised if as many as 1% of the congregation at St Mary’s today would have been able to name the Five Marks of Mission without having the opportunity to look them up. Most people wouldn’t of heard of them. And unfortunately for the many people on those very many clergy conferences, the Five Marks of Mission bear little connection with what actually makes a church grow.””

He then adds;

“And the thing is, people in the church generally would like their congregations to grow a bit. There’s not much wrong in most congregations that another couple of dozen faithful giving members couldn’t put right.

“And it is my view that it isn’t beyond the boundaries of possibility that most congregations could find another couple of dozen giving members fairly easily if they sorted their lives out according the Seven Actual Marks of Mission rather than getting all hung up on the Five they are told they are supposed to be concentrating on.”


So what seven marks of mission does Kelvin suggest we work on to help our churches grow?

1 – A community that enjoys singing things
2 – Ability to deal with conflict. (And a leadership structure that allows this to be done).
3 – A sense of humour that isn’t an optional extra
4 – Life changing liturgy and preaching
5 – Being truly welcoming
6 – Confident leadership
7 – Ethos, ethos, ethos


Kelvin then fleshes each of these out in some detail.  Go check it out (Here).


For another perspective (ok, critique) of the Five Marks, check out this earlier conversation from New Zealand’s Bosco Peters.


image: Bosco Peters at


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Anand Gnanadesikan

On the one hand, I can see the point…

On the other, this could be read as “Doing real mission is hard. If we were just a little nicer to each we could be successful without actually being redeemed.”

In some ways, I think evangelicals could use to hear the first message, and not take them (our?)/selves too seriously. But I have gotten a little tired of hearing the second message preached in my relatively liberal congregation and think we could use to remember the five Marks more.

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