History of the Five Marks of Mission

The Five Marks have won wide acceptance among Anglicans and among other Christian traditions, and have given parishes and dioceses around the world a practical and memorable “checklist” for mission activities. These Marks of Mission are not a final and complete statement on mission but they offer a practical guide to the holistic nature of mission.

The ‘Five Marks of Mission’ were first developed as four marks by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) in 1984, and became five in 1990. Having appreciated the missiological and biblical implications of the creation and environmental crisis, the Anglican Consultative Council decided that a new mark of mission that captured this understanding was inevitable. In adopting the new (and fifth) mark of mission, the ACC-8 stated, at its 1990 meeting in Wales, that “We now feel that our understanding of the ecological crisis, and indeed of the threats to the unity of all creation, mean that we have to add a fifth affirmation.”

Since then, it has become evident that as the Anglican Communion travels further along the road towards being mission-centred, the Five Marks need to be understood as dynamic and should be subjected to review from time to time. In keeping with this reality the ACC-15 meeting in Auckland, New Zealand in 2012, revised the Fourth Mark of Mission to its current wording.

The Five Marks have won wide acceptance among Anglicans and other denominations, and have given parishes and dioceses around the world a practical and memorable “checklist” for mission activities.