an occasional series of technical posts:
refers to an understanding of personality profile as a combination of five
impulses—apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, and teaching—that interact
with the personality profiles of everyone else towards five corresponding functions
of human community, culture or society: innovation, agitation/reform, promotion/recruiting,
care, and instruction.
‘Marks of Mission’ have been adopted by Anglicans (and, indeed, a number of
other church traditions since) as expressing ‘the Anglican Communion’s common
commitment to, and understanding of, God’s holistic and integral mission.’ The
five marks of mission are:
proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
teach, baptise and nurture new believers
respond to human need by loving service
transform unjust structures in society, to challenge violence of every kind and
pursue peace and reconciliation
strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life
of the earth.
are some reflections on the interplay between APEST and the Five Marks of
Marks of Mission are not (in my opinion) an organising principle; but they are
the evidence of a healthy outworking of unity and diversity in the body of
Christ. All five people-gifts—apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and
teachers—get to play in each mark of mission; but it may be that different
gifts are best suited to help the church by giving a lead in different areas.
first mark is clearly evangelistic, and here the evangelists might take a lead,
but need apostles to open up new frontiers; and, in fact, all the others get to
second mark, the teachers might take an obvious lead, supported by the
shepherds in a nurturing role. Nonetheless, all the others must be involved, because
without them, the mark is incomplete, its ‘outcome’ partial or distorted.
third mark calls for the shepherds to lead us; but needs the insight of the prophets,
and, yet again, the others to join in, not abdicating responsibility for care
by outsourcing it to the shepherds alone.
fourth mark, the prophets might lead us in engaging social in/justice;
supported by the shepherds in order that we move beyond speaking out against
injustice to the work of reconciliation. But, yet again, it will take the whole
body working together to see true and lasting transformation.
fifth mark points to an apostolic lead, supported by teachers who might
systematise and help embed our learning to live in a new way. The apostolic
impulse is concerned with environment and the ‘architecture’ of our lives. Immature
expressions of apostolic gifting have pioneered the cultural changes that have been
so devastatingly detrimental to the natural environment over the past 100 years
(with massive acceleration over the past 30 years). Conversely (perhaps
ironically; perhaps, correcting an irony), mature expressions of apostolic
gifting will pioneer the cultural changes that are now needed to address this
global crisis. Nonetheless, within the church, thinking about apostolic calling
remains largely unapplied to safeguarding the integrity of creation: this needs
APEST is not a different structure for thinking about mission, one that is ‘other’
or outside from an Anglican perspective; but, rather, healthy APEST diversity-in-unity
is essential to the five Marks of Mission becoming a lived experience.