Mission is collaboration

Mission is carried out in collaboration with local churches, communities and people. In practice, our aim is to provide support and expertise to enable locals to do missionary work.

Finnish missionaries and aid workers support and train locals and undertake duties they have expertise in. Our aim is to enable locals to continue the work independently in order to achieve lasting results.

An integral part of Christianism is spreading the good. This involves having faith in our being able to alleviate the distress and need of those who have less than we do. By working together, we can do more.

“No church is so poor that it cannot give to others. And no church is so rich that it cannot learn from others.” (Bishop Josiah Kibira, 1925–1988, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania)

Framework agreement

Common Witness is the global mission policy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland. This policy consists of two parts. The first part describes the church’s basic theological understanding of mission. All the church’s life and activities are guided by its mission. Every community needs to know its reason for being. The church and its members should lead a missional life. The church’s mission can be expressed differently at different times and in different contexts. The second part of the text lists the document’s key policy principles.

Missionary organizations and organizations working in the field of international diaconia that have signed a framework agreement with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland are committed, as stated in their respective agreements, to the Global Mission Policy approved by the Bishops’ Conference and the principles contained within the policy. Both framework agreements for mission and for international diaconia are valid for a five[1]year period. The Bishops’ Conference monitors annually the compliance of the mission organizations with the framework agreement for mission. The Church Council monitors annually Finn Church Aid’s compliance with the framework agreement for international diaconia.

Policy principles

  1. The church’s mission is to proclaim Jesus Christ as the Savior of the world and to promote the Kingdom of God. All activities in the church should be informed by mission. The church’s mission is holistic. Holistic mission includes proclamation of the saving Gospel, diaconal service, and advocating for the common good. Different church-related actors may participate in God’s mission differently, reflecting their contextual realities.
  2. Parishes and parishioners are to promote missionary work and practice diaconia. Parishes partner with missionary and diaconal organizations contracted by the church to advance the church’s holistic mission. These organizations with their expertise and networks support the calling of both parishes and dioceses pursue their mission and do missionary work. Dioceses, parishes, and signatory organizations to the framework agreements commit to continuing and developing their cooperation.
  3. Organizations whose main activity takes place abroad may be[1]come a signatory to the framework agreement for mission or for international diaconia. Signatory organizations may have differing strategic foci. Missionary organizations support partner churches and networks’ mission in various ways and send missionaries to international missions. For activities taking place in Finland, organizations agree on forms of partnership separately with dioceses and parishes. 16 Common Witness 2023
  4. Both the church and signatory organizations to the framework agreements promote the participation of all members in the church’s holistic mission. One of the main ways of doing this is by supporting parishioners’ voluntary activity. Volunteering may take place in local parishes or through the activities of missionary organizations.
  5. Missionary organizations participate in the church’s training program for missionaries and in developing mission-related communications. The church and the signatory organizations to the framework agreement work together to promote mission education and global education and contribute towards increasing missiological knowledge, especially in studies qualifying people for various positions within the church and the continuing education of employed staff. Mission education and global education should promote opportunities for volunteers in positions of trust and especially youth and young adults, to participate in the church’s holistic mission.
  6. The church’s mission has an ecumenical and interreligious dimension. Where possible, missionary work is carried out ecumenically together with other Christians and always in a respectful dialogue with persons of other faiths. In countries where there are several Lutheran churches, the aim is to find new partners among the existing member churches of the Lutheran World Federation. Signatory organizations to the framework agreement on global mission inform the Bishops’ Conference of significant extensions and changes in their activities. Common Witness 2023 17
  7. In cooperation between parishes and missionary organizations, missionary organizations comply with the General Synod’s decision to open the ordained ministry to women (11/1986, § 34). If differences in theological understandings of the ordained ministry compromise cooperation, both parishes and missionary organizations are to follow the guidelines outlined by the Bishops’ Conference (Piispainkokouksen tiedoksianto 1/2006 kirkkohallitukselle, liite 1 Piispainkokouksen selonteko erilaisten virkanäkemysten aiheuttamien työyhteisöongelmien hoitamiseksi). Signatories to the framework agreement on mission and diaconia respect partner churches’ decisions and internal discussions on ordained ministry and must not by their actions cause harm to their partners
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