Evangelization or Mission?

IMG_7305The French Catholic theologian Claude Geffré prefers “evangelization” to “mission” because of the latter term’s territorial connotation and its historical link with the process of colonization.”

Put aside the Roman Catholic theology for a moment and focus on the concern of Claude Geffré.  

With that in mind, consider these questions:




1.  Are the objects or objectives of mission and evangelism different?

2.  Is Evangelism the umbrella for Mission or vice versa?

3.  How can evangelism or mission be done without Colonization or Territorialism? 

0 thoughts on “Evangelization or Mission?

  1. Carlos says:

    Don’t know about your questions Miguel but I would like to hear of your views on the Catholic Church sometime. Just mostly wondering if you are an ecumenical Christian who sees the Catholic Church as just another Christian sect which we can all work alongside of or not?


  2. Rob Kampen says:

    As I read this and ponder, it strikes me that evangelism is much more in keeping with the words and ethos of the NT – mission seems to me to evoke the sense of a human program to achieve an objective – hence its use by the military.
    Yet we know that God will build His church, our job, should we accept it, is to make disciples, one by one – it cannot be done en-mass. It is done shoulder to shoulder – even Jesus only discipled 12!
    So I guess the summation is: mission is man centric, an objective we can articulate, strategies and tactics we can formulate and sell to others, and ultimately achieve and measure – all the stuff that the corporate world uses in business (I know this well from personal experience) – I guess I just have an aversion to seeing it in the church.
    Lest anyone think I am anti organizing or planning, I’m not – it just that the ways of the Kingdom are not the ways of the world – we humans have this propensity to put our marks and methods all over the things of the Kingdom and thus muddy the waters and not make a clear sound for the world to hear and follow. (please excuse all the mixed metaphors)

  3. Carlos says:

    One other thought that comes to mind Miguel (for what it’s worth).

    I don’t think it really matters what you want to call it as long as whatever word is used (i.e. mission or evangelization) correctly expresses the heart of God with respect to the business that the Body is to be about in doing the Father’s business.

    In other words I don’t think Jesus ever concerned Himself with how a particular word might be perceived by those hearing Him as long as the word that He used correctly expressed the heart of God the Father to those listening to Him speak.

    In the common understanding of what a given word may have meant.

    So if “mission” has come to be associated with an ungodly, man-centered focus then we should scrap the use of that word for one that expresses a godly, God-centered focus and which word still encompasses what the Lord wants the Body to do.

    It’s not really about which comes first or which one is what the church is about at all really. We are to do something (i.e. we have a mission from God) and we are to evangelize as well. We have the one and we are to do the latter. It’s both.

    If we chose to focus on the mission aspect at the expense of the particular need to evangelize as part of that mission then we are out of balance.

    If we chose to focus on the need to evangelize and forget or ignore the overall mission of which evangelizing is a part but not the whole then we are likewise out of balance.

    It’s both.

    Not one or the other.

    It’s awfully tough to stay balanced in these things I think. We all naturally have our tendencies to get out of balance depending on our particular mental make up and character leanings. That’s where the Body comes in to help us stay balanced.


  4. Jonathan says:

    My definitional preference is that “mission” is done among those who do not have a viable, sustained witness among them and that “evangelism” is done to build up an established witness.

    But I really don’t care that much any more. Both terms go to the heart of what we’re to be about. As an ambassador of Christ, I’m to be involved in Kingdom advance, however, wherever it is being done. As I do this, I am to be continually on guard against the message being tempered or overly flavored by either my own cultural preferences or my tendency to go native and give preference to the preferences of the peoples that are going to be the recipients of this message.

    Simple to describe. Rarely easy to execute.

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