According to the latest Barna report 51 percent of church goers do not know what the “The Great Commission” is. Take that in for a moment, the average “Christian” doesn’t know the last and lasting mandate that Christ gave to go and make disciples of everyone everywhere.
That’s like a doctor who doesn’t know what the word “medicine” means or a soldier who has never heard of a gun before. In many ways it is unthinkable.
I believe that the responsibility of this falls squarely on the shoulders of the church leaders. If preachers and church leaders are not banging the drum that Jesus banged they may be playing in the wrong band. And if the leaders are confused about it then the people will be even more confused. As someone once said, “If there’s a mist in the pulpit there’s a fog in the pew.”
Maybe the growing focus on social justice in our churches has overshadowed the primary mission that Jesus gave his followers. Perhaps the attention we are giving to loving our neighbors somehow has been psychologically untethered from the verbal proclamation of the Gospel to them.
Whatever the reasons, we must face the fact that a technical majority of the people in our churches are unfamiliar with the term “The Great Commission.” Now the question is what do we do about it?
1. We reframe the Great Commission.
What if we reframed the Great Commission as the primary way we make the world a better place? What if we showed that the best way we can love our neighbors is by introducing them to the only One who can truly solve their problems and overwhelm their lives with peace and purpose?
In Luke 19:1-10 Jesus reaches a infamous tax collector named Zaachaeus with his message of redemption. As soon as this tax collector believes he proclaims, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.”
As soon as Zaachaues believes, his heart is changed and he immediately gives half of his possessions to the poor and pays back any social injustice he has committed four times over!
This powerful passage shows us that the real key to social justice is Gospel proclamation. When someone puts their faith in Jesus their heart is changed. Greed is replaced with generosity and selfishness is replaced with selflessness.
If we genuinely want to see lives changed, systemic injustice removed, the poor fed and the prisoners freed we must make the proclamation of the Gospel primary in our lives and churches. The power of the Gospel) changes lives, families, communities, nations and situations. It turns sex traffickers into soul savers. It turns greedy overlords into selfless servants.
It’s time to reframe the Great Commission as the primary way we love our neighbors.