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Why the Great Commission is stalling

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The concept of world evangelization was originated by Christ Himself when He instructed His disciples to go into all nations and spread His teachings to everyone (Mark 16:15). Unfortunately, hundreds of generations of Christians have passed since this command was given, and over 3.16 billion people currently living have not yet heard about Jesus. Unless something changes, huge numbers of these unreached people groups will go out into eternity never having heard the Gospel.

There are approximately 7,402 unreached people groups in the world today if you count every unreached people group once within each country in which they live. Research has shown that unreached people groups account for approximately 42.5% of all people groups throughout the world. With the rate at which churches are springing up in metropolitan areas in many countries, one would have expected that the spread of the Gospel would have been expedited too. Sadly, the reality is otherwise.

Many churches are so much involved in church activities that the outreach ministry is completely ignored. Several programs are organized for church members and invitees from year to year and nothing is done about missions and the mandate of the Great Commission. It is sad for believers to hear the Gospel routinely at church without sharing it even once with outsiders.

The brand of Christianity which is in vogue today militates against the mandate of world evangelization. Christian religious liberalism is powerless, the prosperity “gospel” is worldly, and any Christianity that does not exclusively focus on soul-winning is practically meaningless. Until the purpose of the biblical Church becomes the purpose of today's churches, world evangelization will continue to dwindle.

Sadly, there are many Christians today but only few disciples of Christ. The mandate of “go ye” has been abandoned for lack of true discipleship. The harvest is plenty but laborers are very few. Churches are supposed to groom laborers and send them to reach the unreached on a regular basis, but most laborers are now nurtured to sit in churches and take care of the saved while the unreached are abandoned to damnation for lack of preaching. Church leaders should be aware that the true capacity of the church should not be measured by the number of crowds gathered in a building but by the number of missionaries sent to the fields.

Persecution and government restrictions are also reasons for the church leaving the unreached un-evangelized. There has been a recent increase in violent persecution against Christians and the Gospel. The fear of being killed or attacked has not allowed willing missionaries to go out and evangelize. The risks are increasingly against us, but that shouldn't make us disobey Christ. Decisions to embrace risk to reach those who have not heard about Christ is evidence that we love God and are ready to make sacrifices for the sake of the Gospel. Those are decisions which must be made with utmost commitment and earnest resolution. Christians should be willing to step into dangerous situations for the sake of the Gospel.

Evangelization is also stalled due to geographical challenges. Many of the unreached and unengaged people groups live in the mountains, deserts, jungles, or on transit as nomads. Intensive research should be carried out by missionaries and churches on how to best reach these areas.

Lack of funds is another crucial factor that needs to be addressed. Evangelizing the unreached requires enormous resources; missionaries are not only to preach the Gospel but are also expected to carry out humanitarian interventions. Most unreached people groups are the poorest of the world's poor. They need education, clean water, food, medical facilities, etc. Most of them find it difficult to understand the Christian message, but a little act of Christian kindness draws them close to Jesus.

Moreover, the unreliability of Christian workers is seriously hindering the mandate of the Great Commission. It is important to mention that many Christians who desire to support missionaries have developed cold feet due to disappointments and perceived fraud among Christian workers. This is sad since there are many who have risked their lives to reach the unreached. Those who are mission-minded should ask God for the spirit of discernment to avoid making mistakes that would bring dishonor upon the name of Christ.

World evangelization should be a collective responsibility of all Christians. It is not designed for some hyperactive Christians in the Church; it is the very purpose of the Church. Before Christ gave this mandate, he knew that it is possible for us to accomplish it and has also assured us that he was not going to forsake us (Mathew 20:20). Delayed obedience is far better than absolute disobedience. We can still do something. A little effort from every Christian will go a long way in ensuring that everyone hears about Jesus.

This world is getting more difficult for Christians daily. The coming of Christ and His kingdom will be ushered in by the global spreading of the Gospel. How can we, therefore, remain silent?

Oscar Amaechina is the president of Afri-Mission and Evangelism Network, Abuja, Nigeria. His calling is to take the gospel to where no one has neither preached nor heard about Jesus. He is the author of the book Mystery Of The Cross Revealed.  

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