Have you heard the term "The Great Commission"? It's a term that has been used fairly recently in church history, and it's often equated to missions. If you're like most U.S. churchgoers, according to Barna Research, you may not know the term or be able to recall what it means. That's OK; I've got your back. Here are the verses that contain what's known as The Great Commission: Matthew 28:19-20.
When I first read these verses, I thought they were a special calling for super-Christian missionaries to go overseas to share the gospel. I didn't think it meant I should share my faith here. (In my defense, when I was a kid, 93% of Americans identified as Christian.) Then the world changed. And I didn't notice the mosques, gurdwaras, stupas and temples multiplying in small towns and big cities across North America. The mainstream churches I attended never talked about reaching these new neighbors of other faiths for Jesus here. There were no classes for how to share my faith with people of other faiths and cultures. Life in my suburban Christian bubble was filled to the brim with raising a family, growing my career and volunteering. I never noticed the growing number of people from other faiths and cultures around me. And it never occurred to me to intentionally seek them out or to share the good news of Jesus.
It crushes me now to realize that in one generation, the percentage of Americans who identify as Christian in America has slid dramatically from 93% to 65%, per Pew Research. Where I live now in the buckle of America's Bible-belt, just 48% identify as Christian. There are eight nations represented in my cul-de-sac alone. It's ironic. We are free to share our faith here, yet most Christians aren't, and Christianity is declining fast. Meanwhile, in parts of the world where you can be killed for sharing your faith, such as China and Iran, Christianity is growing fast.
This is a wake-up call for our generation. If the trajectory of Christianity's decline and Islam's growth continues unchecked, Muslims are projected to outnumber Christians within just a few generations in Europe, Canada and even here in America. This is a problem. Christians and Muslims alike who live in modern-day Islamic-ruled nations lack religious freedoms and face extreme difficulties. I don't want this kind of a life for my children's children. Do you?
Jesus called us to be His witnesses and tell non-believers in our suburbs, our nations and the world the Good News (see Acts 1:8). If we believe what the Bible plainly declares—that our sovereign God is calling a great multitude of people to be His own—we must also embrace the wonderful, breathtaking privilege to proclaim the hope of Jesus so that "all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Num. 14:21, AMP).
So what holds you back? Here's what held Paige back: distractions. She grew up in the church yet struggled to understand the heart of God. She knew she should love her new neighbors from other faiths and cultures yet wrested with insecurities. Then she discovered two simple things that put everything into place. Now she's experiencing more joy and adventure living as an authentic Christian witness than she ever imagined. You can have this too. Paige's story will inspire and embolden you to see yourself in God's story right now. Listen to this podcast episode of iHOPE Empowers on Charisma Podcast Network here.
Karen Bejjani is an author, co-founder and executive director of iHOPE Ministries, a non-profit ministry that is changing the way Christians think about sharing their faith with people of other faiths. Since 2011, iHOPE has empowered tens of thousands of Christians to cross religious boundaries and extend God's transformative love.
As a fearless, relatable visionary and empowering coach, Karen has trained, coached and mentored thousands of entrepreneurs to build successful businesses as a senior corporate executive. Now she uses those skills to lead a movement of everyday Christian women who are crossing religious boundaries to share the hope of Jesus.
Karen is writing a book called The Blue Cord to change the way everyday women think about sharing their biblical faith with women of other faiths and cultures. Her powerful stories and practical coaching have emboldened believers around the world to change lives for eternity. When she's not empowering others to cross cultural and religious boundaries to share Jesus, Karen spends her time hiking through forests and enjoying good Lebanese food with family and friends. Connect with Karen through Instagram or iHOPEministries.org.
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