The Five Marks of Mission for Children – and Your School

I underwent some really good training last week on the RE Curriculum, and was really struck by this, although I am not sure of the source, I want to share it:

The worldwide Anglican communion has adopted what is known as the Five Marks of Mission, as a summary of how it sees its role in the world and the role of all those who are members of its churches.

The Five Marks are as follows:

  • To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
  • To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
  • To respond to human need by loving service
  • To seek to transform unjust structures of society
  • To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

As part of the Anglican Church, Church of England schools may find it useful to think through the Marks of Mission and use them as one of the ways to structure their own call to be a ‘distinctive’ part of the English national education system.

The Marks of Mission may be summarized using five words beginning with ‘T’: Tell, Teach, Tend, Transform and Treasure. These words are used below, and in some possible statements to use with children.

How can church schools use the ‘Marks of Mission’ to become more distinctive Christian communities?

Tell

Tell stories of Jesus systematically in Collective Worship, but also think about the things Jesus taught and talk about these
Help children to lead worship themselves, including telling stories and offering ideas about meaning
Celebrate key Christian festivals, linking these to Christian beliefs and share the celebrations the wider community

Teach

Teach key Christian concepts: reconciliation, hope, incarnation, salvation, Kingdom of God, and Christian perspectives on shared beliefs
Aim for Biblical literacy – a rich diet of stories from the Bible, well-told, read, discussed, applied
Excel in the area of RE – resource and teach it well, offer time to question beliefs and meet active members of different faiths

Tend

Encourage and reward caring and sharing in practical and measurable ways from Reception onwards in each class.
Learn about the needs of others, find out how to help and do something.
Meet those, including those in the Christian community who ‘tend’ those in need. Find out why they do this work.

Transform

Remind each child and adult they can make a difference with their lives and their choices.
Dream of making a difference and then work for justice, peace and equality in practical ways.
Become a UNICEF Rights Respecting School and celebrate both rights and responsibilities.

Treasure

Look hard at natural beauty, film it, paint it, sing it, sit amongst it, walk through it and worship in it.
Visit beautiful places and link with the idea of creation and the creator.
Look after your environment in school, become an Eco-school and encourage the local church to follow your example.

Can children understand the ‘Marks of Mission’?

The Marks of Mission can be understood, and acted on by children if presented in the context of their own lives. The following version phrased as ‘I can’ statements may be helpful but they are not meant to suggest that teachers should assess them!

  • We can tell others about Jesus and why he is important to Christians.
  • We can teach others about God and pass on the stories of the bible.
  • We can tend those in need and look after ourselves and others.
  • We can transform the world for one person and make a difference.
  • We can treasure the world we live in and preserve it for others.