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THCT100 What Christians Believe


THCP210 Mission of the Church

Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Mission is fundamental to the identity, nature and purpose of the Christian church. If the church is not engaged in mission, it is not the church of Jesus Christ and where the dynamic of mission is absent or ignored, the church tends to be preoccupied with the powers of institutionalism and secularization. The church is a sign of the purposes of God, especially as it calls people to faith and as it pursues justice and mercy. Both evangelization and the pursuit of social justice are proper to mission of the Church, as witnessed in Scripture and through history. Each generation of disciples must receive the mission of the Church and interpret it for the language and context of their day.

THCP225 examines the biblical and theological bases for mission, so as to equip students for the task of identifying how the mission of the church finds contemporary expression in local contexts. The aim of the unit is for students to evaluate and develop specific theological insights and knowledge related to Christian mission, and apply a critical understanding of the relevance and implications of mission for contemporary contexts.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Describe the basic demography of a specific ministry context and how Christian leaders and members of the various churches may work together with others in that context as part of the model for mission
LO2Articulate a theology of the mission of the church in the world, which expresses an integrated appreciation of course content, and applicability to a specific ministry context
LO3Design a model for mission for the identified context based on demographic analysis, and with appropriately articulated goals, strategies and plans for ongoing evaluation and accountability


Suggested weekly topics: 

  • Initial Understandings of Mission and Evangelization (Constants in Context) 
  • Scriptural Basis for Mission 
  • The development of the Church’s Stance Toward the World over time (Church documents), before, in and since the Second Vatican Council.  
  • Culture and the Gospel in a World Church (race, culture, ethnicity, multiculturalism, inculturation)  
  • Social Research Methods in the Discernment of Community Needs, including data gathered by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Pastoral Research Office and the National Church Life Survey. 
  • Mission and Culture: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Evangelisation 
  • Equipping the People of God for Mission (Societal involvement as an expression of Christian discipleship) 
  • Mission and Ecology: Mission in an era of Environmental Crisis (Including Human ecology)  
  • Evangelisation and Dialogue 1; Ecumenism  
  • Evangelisation and Dialogue 1; Interreligious Dialogue  
  • The Local Church; Connections and Relationships 
  • The Local Church: Urban and Rural Ministry 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, online learning, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.  

The unit is normally offered in attendance mode or multi-mode. Typically, the unit will include online activities with face to face sessions, either weekly or over dedicated intensives, so as to facilitate the participation and interaction of students from a range of ecclesial ministries. Students learn through formally structured and sequenced learning activities that support the achievement of the learning outcomes. Students are asked to critically reflect, analyse, and integrate new information with existing knowledge, draw meaningful new connections, and then apply what they have learned. Collaborative and peer learning is also emphasized.  

THCP225 emphasises that students are recognised as adult learners who engage best when what they are learning is relevant to them and gives them the opportunity to be responsible for their own learning. In many ways, the student is the one who drives the learning forward, and their active participation in this unit is essential. Learning is designed to be an engaging and supportive experience, which helps students to develop critical thinking and reflection skills.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. 

Given the alignment of learning outcomes to the assessment tasks, in order to pass this unit, students are required to attempt all assessment tasks and achieve an overall mark of 50% or higher.  

Task 1 asks students to explain the nature of the church and its mission in order to display achievement of Learning Outcome 1.  

Task 2 asks students to articulate a theology of mission in the context of a specific ministry context critically in order to display achievement of Learning Outcome 2.  

Task 3 invites students to consider the relevance of Christian mission today, in order for them to display achievement of Learning Outcome 3.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Short Written Task: Requires students to explain and reflect on knowledge of the theological foundations of the church and the issues involved in a local ministry context.



Group presentation: Requires students to present to the class on a mission project, with a written critical reflection component.


(15% group and 20% individual written submission) 

LO1, LO2

Final Research Paper: Requires students to integrate the research, theological rationale and model for mission.


LO1, LO2, LO3

Representative texts and references

Archbishops’ Council. Mission-Shaped Church: Church Planting and Fresh Expressions of Church in a Changing Context. Brookvale, NSW: Willow, 2005. 

Bentley, Peter. A Brief Review of Church-Related Research in Australia 1975-2005. Kew, Vic.: Christian Research Association, 2005.  

Bevans, Stephen B., and Roger P. Schroeder. Constants in Context: A Theology of Mission for Today. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2004. 

Frost, Michael, and Alan Hirsch. The Shaping of Things to Come: Innovation and Mission for the 21st Century Church. Erina, NSW: Strand Publishing, 2003. 

Gaillardetz, Richard R. An Unfinished Council: Vatican II, Pope Francis, and the Renewal of Catholicism. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015. 

Gibbs, Eddie and Ryan Bolger. Emerging Churches: Creating Christian Community in Postmodern Cultures. Grand Rapids, MN: Baker, 2005. 

Killen, Patricia O'Connell, and John De Beer. The Art of Theological Reflection. New York: Crossroad, 1994

Langmead, Ross, ed. Reimagining God and Mission: Perspectives from Australia. Adelaide: ATF, 2007. 

Lowney, Chris. Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads. Lessons from the First Jesuit Pope. Chicago, IL: Loyola Press, 2013. 

Ross, Cathy, and Stephen B. Bevans. Mission on the Road to Emmaus: Constants, Context, and Prophetic Dialogue. SCM Press, 2015. 

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