The Great Commission is the mission that Jesus left for His disciples to accomplish before ascending to heaven.

“Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)

But how’s the Church doing today when it comes to fulfilling this mission? How can Christians do better when it comes to the Great Commission?

Questions like these led to the birth of The State of the Great Commission report which was recently published by global missions platform the Lausanne Movement.

“The State of the Great Commission brings together the best global data and key strategic thinkers to understand where the greatest gaps and opportunities are for the Great Commission’s fulfilment,” said Matthew Niermann, director of The State of the Great Commission report.

As a start, we have summarised below the 10 key questions explored in the report and the accompanying key findings (we’ll expand even more on these findings in subsequent articles!). 

Question 1: What is polycentric Christianity?

As the world progresses, the strategy of the Great Commission needs to be adapted to meet the latest contexts and needs of society. Hence, the report looks ahead to 2050 and studies the potential global shifts and their implications.

Based on the average annual rate of change per year, Africa is projected to have the highest proportion of global Christians by 2050. Asia’s share of the Christian population will also grow while all other regions’ share will decline.

The growth of Pentecostal Christians is also projected to be the highest; the report states that “Pentecostal Christians are typically more missionary in orientation, placing a high emphasis on lay evangelism through personal networks”.

Regions and denominations aside, these insights reveal a greater need to reach the lost in the years to come, whether through personal evangelism or missions.

Even though these growths are projected, they will not happen unless Christians put their hands to the plough in the harvest field. The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few (Matthew 9:37). 

Question 2: What is the source of hope?

While “hope” is one of the core foundations of the Christian belief, the message of hope is definitely not exclusive to Christianity.

The study found that instead of turning to religion, people are more interested in “sex, money, and entertainment”.

In the past 15-20 years, people are starting to reorientate and prioritise “self” over “community”.

It’s not good news for Christianity, but it certainly does not mean that all hope is lost. Interestingly, when observing the interest in transcendental values, it is found that “love” is the highest-rated option.

This actually presents an opportunity for Christians to minister to people’s needs and bring people to know true love. And in a world that is increasingly self-centred, Christians can also become salt and light by imitating Christ’s loving humility and valuing others above themselves.

Question 3: What is the foundation of trust?

The report highlights that people generally show greater trust towards figures that they share a relationship with as compared to organisations or institutions. This means churches must be mindful of the need to invest in people’s lives.

When it comes to youths, it is found that they display a higher level of trust in their family members than their religious leaders when it comes to their spiritual formation. This underscores the importance of parental involvement in a youth’s discipleship and maturity.

Question 4: What are the emerging demographics?

The report predicts that one of the most significant demographic shifts in 2050 will be global ageing: “Due to advances in medicine and health care, more and more of the global population will live well beyond their seventies.”

This shows that the Church needs to be ready to engage and reach out to the older generation, and accommodate their varying stages of life.

The report also highlights that older Christians within this generation are “untapped agents of gospel witness” – they too can be empowered and commissioned to share the Good News!

Question 5: What is community?

Due to globalisation, we will only see an increase in people’s movement all around the world. These people could be migrants, international students, or even refugees.

Hence, local churches need to be prepared to open their doors to people from different backgrounds. Church demographics will start to shift as more and more foreigners join the church and become part of the community.

Furthermore, churches should also equip and train every member to share the Gospel effectively so that they will one day bring the Good News to different parts of the world.

Question 6: What is fair and just?

The report acknowledges that not all humans are being treated fairly and equally even though all humans are made in the image of God and are worthy (Genesis 1:27).


The Church will have to make sense of what it means to do good and have a stake in global justice such as “poverty, persecution, women, marginalised groups, human rights, slavery, and corruption”.

Question 7: What is sustainable?

The report also explained that the stewardship of God’s creation is a clear biblical command and an integral part of what it means to follow Jesus as Lord. Hence, creation care should definitely be a cause of concern for the Church.

The report cited the The Cape Town Commitment, which asserts that “we cannot separate our relationship to Christ from how we act in relation to the earth. For to proclaim the gospel that says ‘Jesus is Lord’ is to proclaim the gospel that includes the earth, since Christ’s Lordship is over all creation. Creation care is thus a gospel issue within the Lordship of Christ”.

The Great Commission has always been about making disciples. Disciples are those who allow Jesus to be Lord in every dimension of their lives. Therefore, to fail to care for creation is to fail to allow Jesus to be Lord.

Question 8: What does it mean to be human?

As technology advances, Christians will need to deal with the ethical questions that come with biotechnology. We need to figure out where to draw the boundaries so that we don’t “play God” and challenge God’s sovereignty.

While there is generally higher acceptance when biotechnology is applied to illnesses or sicknesses, there is greater hesitancy when it comes to gene editing and enhancing humans.

The report emphasises that such attempts at transhumanism are problematic because they deny the very existence of God.

Question 9: What is a digital life?

Ministry today requires imagination, both from Christian leaders and technology people, to work together when envisioning a church life immersed in a technological world.”

The study found that approximately 60% of the world is connected to the internet, while the estimated average time spent on social media is 2 hours and 20 minutes per day.

This means that churches and ministries will need to learn how to engage both believers and pre-believers in the digital world, so that discipleship and evangelism will continue to be relevant and effective.

Question 10: What is ministry in a digital age?

As most of the world now lives in a digital age, we need to examine if older methods are still relevant and helpful for the current generation.

The report highlights a drop in young people’s affiliation with Christianity, worship attendance and prayer engagement.

However, prayer is also found to be the top spiritual concern of Christian youths.

This shows that while youths understand the importance of prayer and spirituality, many might lack the desire to pray or may be too distracted to prioritise their relationship with God.

Churches and parents hence need to help youths to maintain a healthy relationship with the digital world, such that they do not lose their silence and solitude with God.

Look out for our upcoming articles covering The State of the Great Commission – we’ll be looking into specific sections of the report for deeper insights!