Why Is the American Church Failing the Great Commission?

(Charisma News archives)

The American church is all too familiar with the Great Commission. A majority of local and international ministries are founded on the following verses:

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19-20).

Superficially, we get the Commission right by fostering friendly church environments, hosting neighborhood outreaches and sending missionaries to Third World countries. Fundamentally, the body of Christ is disobeying His commandment to go.

Our 21st-century version of evangelism is rooted in Hebrews 10:25, so we primarily engage the lost by encouraging church attendance. When someone finally accepts our invitation, we pray they visit when the "fun" pastor preaches and our favorite barista runs the snack bar. We usher our guests into 50-minute services, to sing a few popular Christian songs, listen to an inoffensive message and wrap it all up with a "sinner's prayer."

Why can't we see this isn't working? The "carwash" model is failing because we've relegated a move of God and the miracle of salvation to Sunday mornings. We've settled for bringing sinners to church, yet Christ made a way for them to be the Church. The Holy Spirit didn't come to inhabit buildings—He's here to inhabit people.

In Matt. 28:19, the Greek word for nations is "ethnos," which means Gentiles or foreigners. The Jews understood foreigners to be all the uncircumcised, ethnic groups outside of God's covenant. Americans understand foreigners to be those who are born or living outside of the United States. Thus, international missions are a predominant means to collect weekly offerings.

Our Westernized Great Commission—coupled with the reformed debunking of Mark 16:15-18—ensures we'll continue building religious organizations while knowing nothing about building the kingdom. Under the new covenant, Gentiles are strangers to God and His ways; a foreigner is anyone in whom the Holy Spirit does not reside. The nations Jesus speaks of are not faraway lands—they are the lost souls who dwell among us.

Jesus never commanded His disciples to draft multi-site, real estate plans or fundraise for private jets. Of course, we should invite unbelievers into our services and deploy ministry teams into spiritually dark territories. But when we consider the chaos and moral decay in American society, it's obvious our interpretations and practices are not fulfilling the Great Commission. Even the secular world can see the declining influence of the American church.

Foreigners have replaced Christians in every sector. Unbelievers are dominating academia, media and entertainment. They hold the majority on school boards, run the most lucrative businesses and pass demonic legislation on Capitol Hill. Spiritual Gentiles are successfully advancing a counterfeit commission while many in the body of Christ inactively wait on a "pre-trib rapture." As the world perishes, the church is arguing, following false prophets and clinging to doctrines and traditions that produce apathy and trivialize the Word of God.

End times persecution is gaining momentum and will intensify in the last days. The battlefront is the culture. Legislation is the war plan. The enemy's territory is on moral grounds. Rather than aspire to a platform or idly warm the pews, Christians should be on a mission to snatch as many foreigners as possible from the flames of judgment that will soon engulf this planet (see Jude 1:20-23).

The Great Commission releases us into all the world, to establish the kingdom everywhere and be about the Father's business. Jesus wouldn't settle for church invitations or spend His days planning momentous expeditions. He taught His disciples to forsake predictable circumstances, throw off physical comforts and resist carnal cravings. Those who answered the call were sent out with authority in His name and the power of His Spirit (see Luke 9:1-6).

It's time for the American church to wake up, mobilize and go. The harvest won't gather itself.

For over a decade, Tiffany Benson's passion for writing has exceeded most of her other interests. When she's not catching up on politics or watching documentaries, she enjoys journaling and contributing to her blog Bigviewsmallwindow.com. Find her Substack, Twitter, and Truth Social as well.

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