Missional congregations

CWM recognises the vital role of local congregations as the primary agent in mission. The role of CWM is to equip member churches to enable local missional congregations – that is local congregations that have mission as their primary focus.

Missional congregations include the following elements:

  • Exploring the nature of missional congregations in a range of contexts
  • Encouraging conversations about worship as expressions of hope and life in all its fullness
  • Holding “team visits” to member churches to explore missional congregations
  • Accompanying member churches in their mission programmes
  • Developing Regional Roundtable meetings as a means of enabling and equipping members.

What is a Missional Congregation?

At the Council for World Mission (CWM) we talk a lot about Missional congregations and mission shaped church, but what does it all mean?

Over the past few years, extensive efforts have been made to put together a definition of a Missional congregation or community that can be easily recognised and worked towards. For CWM, the terms Missional congregations and mission shaped church are used interchangeably to mean the same thing.

Drawing on the work of our members CWM has created the following definition of a Missional Congregation:

A Missional congregation:

Lives a spirituality of engagement, that is reflected in its worship, and in the nurture and support of its members

Is attuned to the communities in which it is set and alert to the needs of the world, so that it is willing to stand alongside and speak out with those who are suffering or are marginalised

Does not work alone, being in active partnership with other groups who share similar concerns

Is a learning community, with its members taking seriously their reading of the Bible and their reflection on their experience, both as individuals and as a community.

All of which leads the congregation to be a community of transformation, manifesting the reign of God in its midst as lives are made new and justice is realised for those who have been denied fullness of life. (CWM, 2013)

We asked two European member church practitioners what mission shaped church looks like for them:

Barbara Bridges, Congregational Federation

Janet Sutton Webb, United Reformed Church

We also asked what the denominations that make up the European membership could do to support these Missional congregations:

Craig Bowman, United Reformed Church

St Ives Free Church