The What and Why of Mission

Natal West Synod (NWS) Mission Unit (MU) Zoom Workshop, Feb. 2021


Feedback session 1: The What and Why of Mission

Guest presenter: Rev. Prof R, Simangaliso Kumalo

Quotes in italics

‘Anything can be “Mission”,

although not everything is “Mission.”

The difference is the motif or the theological rationale behind that initiative.’


Rev. Prof. Kumalo opened the session on church mission by reminding us what it means when we say mission. The depth of the meaning of the word mission is often lost due to the secularisation of the concept of mission, something the church has taken to heart as her mandate.

The aim of Christian Mission is “making the kingdom of God a reality in every sphere of life”. Mission to the church (Missio Ecclesiae) and by the church to the world (Missio Dei) is action defined by the intentionality of the God of all, with all people, for all People, and for the whole world.


Prof. Kumalo’s 30 minutes session was an ‘expresso version’ talk which probed the MCSA Education Pillar on mission; it was intense, deep, and moreish. Packed with quotable statements, prof led us through the what’s and why’s of what many local churches do without labelling their actions. The information empowers local church with tools to re-evaluate what is (and is not) happening in their locale. The talk incorporated topics such as diversities of mission: (service of neighbours, worship of God, church planting, preaching/ proclamation, and Christian education), as well as the models of doing mission: (outreach, parachute, incarnational, organic).


One pin drop moment (a moment when you could hear a pin drop) was when Rev. Prof Kumalo declared:

‘It is not the responsibility of the church to feed the poor.

It is the responsibility of government.’

When the church engages in charitable acts of feeding the poor

it is prophetic action against the existence of poverty.


The church’s prophetic witness should not end with the temporary relief of hunger through food parcels. The ability of the church to stand together to end poverty is a peoples developmental strategy that is proclaiming the kingdom of God on earth, as it is in heaven.


From a local society perspective (in our case Metro Church), we have had mission within the church (Missio Ecclesia) and to the world (Missio Dei). We have explored diverse mission opportunities, primarily through the incarnational model of mission. We have proclaimed to a sceptical world through our worship (on-line or in person) that there is a God, and God is worth our worship.


Anything can be mission if the initiative is to proclaim God, to make God known, to make real the kingdom of God which is undergirded by abundant life for all. Mission is where all people in all spaces can experience transformation within themselves or their environment.


May we make God known in all that we say, think, and do.

May we be a missional church.

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