With its watchword of "the evangelization of the world in this generation", the 1910 world mission conference in Edinburgh is considered as the symbolic starting point of the contemporary ecumenical movement. There had been earlier major mission conferences, but at Edinburgh, steps were taken towards a certain institutionalization of cooperation between Protestant mission councils. Edinburgh can not be considered "ecumenical" in the present sense of the word however, since there were no Catholic or Orthodox delegates present. Of the 1400 participants, 17 came from the "third world". Edinburgh was very carefully prepared in thematic commissions and, despite quite "progressive" debates in some of these, the conference generally reflected a traditional conservative approach to mission, linking the proclamation of the "gospel to the heathens" with the spread of Western civilization.
Edinburgh gave birth to the International Review of Missions(whose first issue was published in 1912) and to a Continuation Committee which laid the foundations for the creation of the International Missionary Council(IMC) in 1921.