Commission on World Mission and Evangelism

Mission means fullness of life, love and unity. Mission is God’s mission. Within the WCC, the mission movement is represented by the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME). It offers spaces for sharing reflections, experiences, questions, and discoveries on the theology, content, and methods of common Christian witness today.

The contemporary mission movement has been one of the major streams fostering churches’ unity ever since the world missionary conference in Edinburgh in 1910. When the International Missionary Council (IMC), one of the outcomes of Edinburgh, and the World Council of Churches merged in 1961, the strategic and programmatic work for world mission of the IMC became entrusted to the WCC.

A threefold structure was created within the WCC as a consequence of the merger in 1961:

  • Conference on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME), usually held once in between two WCC assemblies, i.e., every 7-8 years
  • Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME), full commission meeting every 24 months, but working in smaller thematic working groups in between commission meetings
  • Permanent executive staff working on matters related to the CWME and editing the journal International Review of Mission, published since 1912

In the Conferences on World Mission and Evangelism, the WCC is already experiencing the full participation of delegates from the Roman Catholic Church and evangelical and Pentecostal churches or mission movements. The latest WCC Conference on World Mission and Evangelism took place in Arusha, Tanzania, in 2018.

The commission is composed of 35 members nominated by the WCC Central Committee, mainly coming from WCC member churches, from mission and ecumenical bodies affiliated with the CWME conference and from other, non-member churches. Roman Catholics, Evangelicals and Pentecostals are full members of the CWME and participate in all its activities. There are often experts, observers, and guests invited from a wider constituency.

The CWME fosters conferences, consultations, seminars, study processes, publications and visits, correspondence or other forms of contacts, for the sake of mission and unity of all Christians. Missional formation and theological education are important dimensions of the work. The main concern is to empower churches, mission bodies and other agencies to be united in common mission and to do it in Christ's way, i.e., linking the methods used with the content of the gospel. The CWME has always wanted to experience and to live the prayer of Jesus Christ “that they may all be one… that the world may believe” (John 17:21).


CWME is currently divided into three working groups. Each working group meets normally once a year, and is accompanied by a CWME staff member.

Theology for Mission

The working group on Theology for Mission was established during the 2019 commission meeting, with the mandate to work on theological themes raised by the Arusha Conference on World Mission and Evangelism in 2018.  Its main task is to accompany theologically the work of the commission toward the next WCC assembly in 2022 and beyond. It comprises ten CWME commissioners drawn from diverse cultural and denominational backgrounds, representing the wider global constituency. Their work, roles, and representations strengthen relations with both WCC member churches and CWME affiliated bodies.

Evangelism/Transforming Discipleship

The working group on Transforming Discipleship (formerly named Working Group on Evangelism), was established during the 2015 commission meeting. The mandate of the Working Group on Transforming Discipleship is to accompany the work of the commission on discipleship toward the next WCC Assembly in 2022. It consists of ten CWME commissioners, with additional experts invited, all of whom represent the wider global constituency in terms of multi-denominational and multicultural backgrounds, thus strengthening relations with both WCC member churches and CWME affiliated bodies.

Mission from the Margins

Mission from the Margins means affirming the agency of those who are marginalized, participating in their struggles and sharing their hopes, overcoming the marginalizing tendencies, and resisting and confronting forces of marginalization and exclusion in our specific contexts of the world.  Thereby Mission from the Margins facilitates shared theological reflection and analysis, advocacy, action and communication at, on, from and beyond the margins with the hope of encouraging and transforming churches and societies to be more just, responsive and inclusive.

Rev. Dr Risto Jukko

Director, WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism

email: [email protected]

phone: +41 22 791 6400