Survey: More than half of churchgoers don’t know about the Great Commission


By Gregg Wooding — 

A new survey revealing that more than half of churchgoers don’t know of the Great Commission has spotlighted the importance of a movement to spur more commitment to taking the gospel to the unreached — those who have never had the opportunity to hear the gospel.

Organizers of the International Day for the Unreached (IDU) say the urgency of their campaign is underscored by the study, Translating the Great Commission, which found 51 percent of those questioned were not familiar with the term describing Jesus’ directive in Matthew 28 for his followers to “make disciples of all nations.”

In its third year, the International Day for the Unreached is being championed by an alliance of 11 missions and other Christian organizations concerned that too little money and manpower is going to sharing the gospel with the 2 billion-plus people around the world who have yet to hear about Jesus.

Only 17 percent of respondents said that they knew the Great Commission reference, according to the survey conducted by Barna Group in partnership with The Seed Company. Some 25 percent had a vague awareness of the term.

“The data indicates that churches are using the phrase less, which may reveal a lack of prioritizing or focusing on the work of the Great Commission,” said the report, but could also mean that the phrase “has simply fallen out of favor with some.”

“This concerning new report serves as a clear endorsement of the importance of the International Day for the Unreached,” said Jon Fugler, chairman of the Alliance for the Unreached. “It makes us even more committed to doing all that we can to raise the awareness of the task that remains for the global church.”

To be held on May 20–Pentecost Sunday–the International Day for the Unreached will be livestreamed on Facebook and other channels to churches and individuals around the world with news about what is happening in frontier missions, and how they can get more involved to help fulfill Jesus’ command.

Organizers chose Pentecost Sunday because it marks the day when the Holy Spirit fell upon the early church, empowering believers to take the good news into the whole world. The 90-minute live event to be hosted at the headquarters of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs, Colo., will begin at 4 p.m. Mountain time.

More than six million people learned about the International Day for the Unreached event livestreamed on Facebook last year.

The International Day for the Unreached ( is an initiative of the Alliance for the Unreached, a group of evangelistic ministries and other organizations, including Bibles For The World (, Frontier Ventures (, InChrist Communications (, Mission Network News (, Missio Nexus (, Operation Mobilization (, Partners International (, Reach Beyond (, William Carey International University (, World Mission ( and ZimZam Global (

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