What is the Great Commission?

by Karen Bejjani

Do you remember the very first time you learned about Jesus’ great commission to “go make disciples of all nations?” (Matthew [28:19]-20.)

What were your earliest impressions about what Jesus meant?

Several Believers discussed their earliest recollections about the Great Commission during recent iHOPE focus groups for my upcoming book project. Here’s what they remembered:

“…you’re definitely going overseas – probably Africa or China.”

“…you’ll have to give up everything and live someplace you’d never want to live.” 

“…it will be super-hard.”

 “…you’ll be really uncomfortable – somewhere where there are a lot of snakes.”

We laughed about the snakes.

And joking aside, during focus group conversations many of my sisters-in-Christ realized that their earliest impressions of the Great Commission were that a few super-Christian missionaries were called to go share Jesus in hard places – somewhere overseas.

They didn’t know it as a call-to-action for everyday Believers to share their faith here. Interestingly, their earliest impressions stuck with most well into adulthood.

Everyone knew About Jesus

I can relate. For most of my growing-up years, over 90% of Americans identified as Christian. That meant that most of my friends and neighbors already knew about Jesus. In Sunday School, we often talked of missionaries sharing Jesus over there, but almost never how to share our faith here.

“We often talked of missionaries sharing over there, but never how to share our faith here.”

Now they don’t know

Now most neighbors are no longer Christian. They are increasingly Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or “None’s,” and you can literally go across the street and be an authentic Christian witness and make disciples. You may already be doing that, and if you are, I want to know about it to spur you on and encourage you. Yet most every day Believers aren’t.

My focus group participants talked about common roadblocks to sharing their faith with people of another faith and culture. Do any of these resonate with you?

“…I don’t want to offend.”

“…definitely fear, a fear of the unknown.”

“…I’d be alone. None of my friends are sharing their faith and my Church isn’t talking about it.”

“…If it’s not easy, it’s not a priority. I’m too busy.”

 “…it’s intimidating to share my faith with someone so different than me.”

Common roadblocks

I understand. These same roadblocks popped up when I first started sharing my faith with people of other faiths. I made it harder than it needed to be, and I often felt alone. When I shared with Christian friends what I was doing, many looked at me as if I had six heads. Most churches Renod and I approached about empowering Christians to share their faith with people of other faiths weren’t interested. “There aren’t enough people of other faiths living here,” they said.

Something needs to change

The world has been rapidly changing. Our neighborhoods are increasingly diverse. And all Believers are called to be witnesses to the nations here (Acts 1:8.) Yet most Believers aren’t sharing their faith with people of other faiths, nor are they equipped to do so. The harvest is plentiful, and the workers few. iHOPE is leading the way – empowering you and your family for such a time as this.

Start small

Friend, if you’ve felt the Lord prompting you to take a more active role in the Great Commission, start now by talking about this important topic with your family and other Believing friends.

  • Read Matthew [28:19]-20, then discuss your earliest impressions about what Jesus meant in these verses. How has your understanding changed?
  • Do you think people of other faiths and cultures need Jesus? Why or why not?
  • While Christianity is growing in other parts of the world, it’s declining here in Westernized nations. Part of the problem is that most Christians are not sharing their faith. What holds you and your friends back from sharing their faith with people of another faith or culture?
  • What needs to change in order for you and your friends to intentionally share your faith with someone of another faith?

Take the conversation deeper

Invite us to facilitate a 90-minute Zoom discussion on this important topic with your Believing friends. You’ll leave deeply inspired and encouraged to take a more active role in the Great Commission among people of other faiths or cultures. Just email [email protected] or call 940-765-3889 to schedule time. Limited spots available.

More great resources

For a great practical, road-tested resource to inspire and empower you to share your faith with people of another faith or culture, get this iHOPE book, Muslims: 5 Biblical Essentials Every Christian Should Know and Do. Or take our free, 90-minute online course (HERE).

Give HERE to give to help iHOPE inspire and empower more Believers to live as authentic Christian witnesses among Muslims and people of other faiths and cultures.

 

Tags: Faith,  Evangelism, Share Your Faith, Make Disciples, Great Commission, Good News.

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