The article analyses forms of coercion employed in so-called peaceful Christian missions. Two forms of coercion are distinguished: social, implemented by the ruler towards his subjects, and political, imposed by a conqueror. However, the fact that on certain occasions missionaries employed both social and political forms of coercion is also taken into consideration. These occasions were cases when missionaries who faced a polarised nobility lacking a strong political leader (the nobility and/or the ruler would be the backbone of a successful mission) would undertake the formation of political structures, thus absorbing secular functions as well. This happened to the first bishops who worked among the Prussians and Livonians (Christian, Meinhard, Berthold and Albert). On the other hand, the analysis revealed that peaceful missions, as they have been perceived in historiography, contained certain forms of coercion defined by the term ‘social coercion’. Thus the logical question arises: what kind of missions can be qualified as military/coercive which in historiography are most frequently named ‘Schwertmission’? The article suggests the conclusion that, in their nature, Schwertmission were different from the so-called ‘sword missions’, yet were loaded with social coercion. Hence, Schwertmission and Crusade are not identical concepts, though they are still used as such in historiography.