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Imagine sitting in a church pew, surrounded by fellow believers, as the pastor delivers a sermon about the Great Commission. Heads nod, but how many truly understand the weight and significance of these words? According to Barna’s Translating the Great Commission report, a staggering 51% of churchgoers have never even heard of this vital commandment.

The Great Commission, as recorded in the Bible, specifically in Matthew 28:19-20, states, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” This commandment, given by Jesus to His disciples, serves as a rallying cry for Christians to spread the message of salvation and share the love of Christ with the world.

Uncovering the Data

Barna’s research reveals that only 17% of churchgoers are familiar with the Great Commission and understand its meaning. This raises the question: Why are so many believers unaware of this fundamental aspect of their faith?

One reason could be a lack of emphasis on discipleship within churches. While many churches focus on worship, fellowship, and teaching, the call to actively make disciples can sometimes be overlooked. Without proper teaching and guidance on the Great Commission, churchgoers may remain ignorant of this critical mission.

Another contributing factor is the absence of intentional biblical education. In an age of distractions, where information is readily available but often superficially consumed, churchgoers may fail to delve deeper into the teachings of Jesus. By not engaging with the Scriptures and seeking understanding, they miss out on the transformative power of the Great Commission.

The Importance of Awareness

Understanding and embracing the Great Commission is vital for every believer. It provides a framework for living out one’s faith and actively participating in God’s redemptive plan for humanity. When churchgoers are unaware of this commandment, they miss out on the opportunity to be an integral part of God’s kingdom work.

By actively engaging in the Great Commission, believers can experience a deeper sense of purpose and fulfillment. They become agents of change, bringing hope and salvation to those who are lost. Fulfilling the Great Commission is not just a duty; it is a privilege and an honor to partner with God in His mission to reconcile the world to Himself.

Overcoming the Barrier

So, how can we bridge the gap and ensure that all churchgoers are aware of the Great Commission? Firstly, pastors and church leaders must prioritize discipleship and intentional teaching. By regularly emphasizing the Great Commission, providing resources, and equipping believers with practical tools, churches can empower their members to actively live out this commandment.

Secondly, personal responsibility plays a crucial role. Each believer should take it upon themselves to study and meditate on the Scriptures, seeking to understand the heart of God and His mission for His people. By cultivating a deep personal relationship with Jesus and immersing themselves in His teachings, churchgoers can become more aware and passionate about the Great Commission.

Looking Ahead

The statistics from Barna’s Translating the Great Commission report may be disheartening, but they also serve as a wake-up call for the Church. We must not shy away from the challenge of making the Great Commission known and understood by all believers. By equipping ourselves with knowledge, embracing discipleship, and actively participating in God’s mission, we can witness a transformative impact on our churches, communities, and the world.

By Roge Sison

An ordained clergy of The United Methodist Church.

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