History of the Five Marks of Mission

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

They were first developed as four marks by the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-6) in 1984. (See Bonds of Affection-1984 ACC-6 p49.)

 A fifth was added in 1990 when, having appreciated the missiological and biblical implications of the creation and environmental crisis, ACC-8 decided that a new mark of mission that captured this understanding was inevitable. In adopting this fifth Mark of Mission,  ACC-8 stated: “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.” (See Mission in a Broken World-1990 ACC-8 p101.)

Since then, it has become clear that as the Anglican Communion travels along the road towards being mission-centred, the Five Marks need to be understood as dynamic and should be reviewed regularly. To this end, the wording of the Fourth Mark was revised by ACC-15 in Auckland, New Zealand in 2012.