Have you ever been traveling into work, listening to the radio and something just smacks you upside the preverbal head? That’s what happened to me this morning.
As I was driving into work this morning, I was listening to my favorite radio station K-Love. As usual, I was listening and singing with the songs they were playing. Then as I was enjoying the music, the DJs then told us about a statistic which was extremely disturbing…here is it…ready???
“More than 50% of Christians don’t know what the Great Commission is.”
WAIT, WHAT! THAT CAN’T BE TRUE!!! How could we call ourselves Christians and not know what the Great Commission is? Well, before you get your imaginary undies in a bunch, let’s first understand the possible reasons to this statement.
First, it is possible that those polled may or may not have been actual Christians. Just because someone says they are a Christian, doesn’t mean they have given themselves over to Jesus Christ. It’s like having a gym membership but never going. You have access to everything you need in order to get in shape (other than round), the equipment, the locker room, the personal trainers, but you never make the effort to go there so you lose out on all that you have access to.
Second, it is possible that those polled were Christians who never read the Bible. They heard the Gospel message, responded but never went any further. They may be at the infancy stage of growth, not realizing that the milk and nourishment they need is in the best book ever written, the Bible. Because there was no one guiding them or taking care of their spiritual infancy, they stagnated and figured, that they know they were going to heaven so that was good enough for them.
Third, the church-isms like Great Commission aren’t being used on the pulpit. The Great Commission is explained but other words are used to communicate this mission. Churches communicate the concepts, but do not use the lingo of our past fore-fathers.
Lastly, and the most disturbing, is that church leaders are not properly communicating the mission of the church, here on earth. Unfortunately, I think this may be the most probable reason for this disturbing statistic. If this is true, then the church needs revival now, more than ever.
Have we become so enamored by the social and political divisions of our societies that we have forgotten to communicate the one message Jesus gave us? Could it be that churches are teaching more about concepts that don’t matter and not the fundamentals of our Christian faith? Is it possible, that we have pastors, teachers and leaders who know so little about Scripture that they don’t know how to communicate what Scripture says from the pulpit?
Recently, I have been learning and teaching on unity within the church. No matter what denomination you are from, unity within the church is essential in ensuring the Great Commission is completed. Each denomination may have secondary differences, but the primary mission is the same and is as simple as 1…2…3… Let me explain.
There is only one way to heaven, Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one goes to the Father except through Me.” This means there is no other way outside of Jesus Christ. No matter what society says, no matter how high up on the smart-meter you may be, there is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ alone.
Once we recognize this, there are two things we need to do. One…we need to acknowledge that we are sinners saved by His grace, because of the work He has done. Two… we need to accept Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives. This means every action, reaction, decision or step must be taken in light of His mission and the direction He has for your life. Once this is completed, you are ready for three (3)…
Jesus gave us three things we need to do for Him, in this life. This is what we call the Great Commission. He explains this in Matthew 28:19-20…
“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
One….we need to make disciples. As I’ve stated in other blogs, this is not like making a cake. Instead, the word here for make means to lead. It means we have a vested interest in leading someone to Christ. We lead them by helping them understand how like them, Jesus saved us and wants to save them too. We lead them in prayer by helping them understand how to ask for forgiveness and cry out to God for salvation. We lead them into becoming a disciple.
Two…we lead them into their first act of obedience, baptism. We lead them into publicly proclaiming Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior to their family and community, through baptism. We show them the excitement of being saved and encourage obedience with this first act.
Three…we teach them to obey everything Jesus commanded us. We teach them by leading through Scripture. We can’t teach if we don’t know what Jesus commanded and we can only know what Jesus commanded by studying Scripture. We teach them by leading and showing how joyous it is to serve Jesus Christ by serving others. We teach them by leading and showing what the Beatitudes mean and how to live by them. We teach them by leading and showing what it means to be compassionate toward others that hate us. We teach them by leading and showing what grace is, towards a lost and dying world.
It’s not complicated. In fact, the mission is very simple…
Be united in a divided world by leading others to Christ, to baptism and to obedience.
As leaders, we need to teach this from the pulpit and in private. If we, as leaders, are not pointing our messages toward the cross of Jesus Christ, then we are being disobedient to our God-given mission. Our jobs are to equip the saints (Christians) to do the work of the Great Commission. But we can’t expect our people to do the Great Commission if they don’t understand what it is. We can’t expect our people to do the Great Commission if we are selves aren’t practicing the Great Commission.
If you’re like me, you probably want to see your church grow. God will only grow our churches if we are obedient to his Great Commission. Once we all take part in teaching our people what the Great Commission is and how to do it, then and only then will God allow our churches to grow.
Let’s be sure that this statistic changes from over 50% not knowing to over 50% knowing and doing the Great Commission.
God bless and encourage someone today.