Dear Pastors and Mission Leaders,

Greetings in Christ. There is an ongoing need to talk about and teach the Great Commission in our churches. I remember years ago during an EFCA National Conference in St. Paul, there were sidewalk interviewers asking the question, “What is the Great Commission?” Only one person on the street, a retired pastor, knew the correct answer – to go and make disciples of all nations. Others thought it dealt with banking or the stock market.

Barna Research and The Seed Company, back in 2018, did research and asked Church Goers:  “Have you heard of the Great Commission?” The sample was based  on US adults who had attended church within the past six months. These were the restuls:

6%, I am not sure.

17%, Yes, and it means…

25%, Yes, but I can’t recall the exact meaning.

51%, No.

Those are some startling statistics! If we ask that question today in our churches, how many people would know the answer? Barna published a book called Translating the Great Commission. Here is what Barna says about it.  “The command to represent the gospel may be loud and clear—but it’s not necessarily simple. This study, produced in partnership with the Seed Company, gauges the Church’s comprehension of the Great Commission, as well as the many opinions about how to accomplish it. “Translating the Great Commission” details how the American Church really feels about communicating the gospel—in word and in deed—so that its leaders are prepared to effectively and wholeheartedly ‘go and make disciples of all the nations.’ ”

May I suggest Translating the Great Commission for some summer reading? You can buy it directly from Barna  in either paperback or digital form. It is also available on Amazon.


Steve Austvold