New Barna report reveals US Church beliefs about missions

By April 19, 2022

USA (MNN) — “The Great Commission” is a term used in Christian circles and missions models. But do all believers know what the Great Commission means?

Mission India recently partnered with Barna Group to learn what the Church thinks about missions. Their report, The Great Disconnect, was just released today.

(Photo courtesy of Jen Theodore via Unsplash)

They asked US churchgoers and pastors questions about missions engagement, unreached people, and the term “the Great Commission.”

David Chakranarayan with Mission India says they compared their survey results with a similar 2019 Barna study.

“In 2019, only 17% of US churchgoers knew what the Great Commission was and knew what it meant. Then when we did this research in 2021, what we found was only 20% of American churchgoers truly knew what the Great Commission was and could identify it.”

Chakranarayan says, “So it’s a three percentage difference; not significant. But yet, there’s this great gap in terms of people that don’t understand the Great Commission.”

The Great Commission refers to Matthew 28:18-20 when Jesus commands His followers to go make disciples of all nations.

“What’s interesting about that Matthew 28 passage is that it first starts locally,” says Chakranarayan. “So [we are] trying to understand and help American Christians understand that the Great Commission is not just for missionaries that go overseas, or sponsoring or supporting indigenous church planters, but it is for all Christians.”

(Image courtesy of Mission India)

The survey also asked participants to choose the following statement that comes closest to what they believe about missions:

  1. “Missions is a calling for some Christians.”
  2. “Missions is a mandate for all Christians.”
  3. “Missions is neither a calling nor a mandate.”

The answers revealed a stunning dichotomy between US pastors and churchgoers.

“What we found out was that 85% of pastors believe that missions is a mandate for all Christians. But we found that only about 25% or so of all Christians believed it was a mandate for all believers,” says Chakranarayan.

“So we see this disparity in the Church where pastors believe that the Great Commission is part of Kingdom advancement locally and globally, and then US churchgoers just thought that it was for those people that travel overseas.”

For Mission India, the research in this report has significant implications for Gospel ministry in India.

(Photo courtesy of Mission India)

Chakranarayan says, “India is the most unreached nation in the world. So we wanted to see how we can partner with the US Church and bring this awareness that there are people out there that still have no access to the Gospel.”

To read the full report, click here to download The Great Disconnect!

You can also share the report with your church staff and local missions leaders. “This report will help church staff understand, ‘How do we align our mission strategy to the point where it’s most effective, that it’s reaching the most people, it has stewardship in mind, [and] it has people that can get engaged with it?’

“This is a great report for people to download just to understand the dynamics of missions in 2022.”

Click here to learn about Mission India’s ministry to advance the Great Commission in India!






Header image courtesy of Mission India.

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