Did you know that the term “The Great Commission” is not found in any Bible verse? The phrase began appearing in the 1600s, but it didn’t become widely used until the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It first appeared as a section heading in The Scofield Bible in 1907. I’m sure it sounded very hip back then but, hey, so did the King James Version.
Thou knowest tis true.
What’s a “great commission”? 20%?
The phrase “The Great Commission” was first popularized by missionaries who used it to infuse interest in evangelism in the hearts of their audiences. They wanted a moniker that would attract people to join Jesus in the greatest mission of all time to tell the greatest story ever told. They hoped that the term would recruit more givers and goers when it came to missions work, especially when it came to young people. They succeeded. The term was used to recruit thousands upon thousands into foreign missions.
But most teenagers today only associate the word “commission” with sales people. If you refer to “The Great Commission,” the typical teenager either scratches his/her head in confusion or tunes you out. Instead of being a ringing call to a grand mission, it’s just as likely to stir thoughts of the 20% commission the sales guy at T-Mobile might have just raked in. The term has lost its panache with today’s culture. It just doesn’t resonate.
Evangelism in a cause-centric world
Instead, our teens today inhabit a cause-centric world. They resonate with causes – environmental causes and social justice causes, to name a few. Go Green! No More Sex Trafficking! Help Haiti! Send Mosquito Nets! Many of the causes vying for their attention are good and worthy causes. But there’s one cause that should rise to the top of the list. One cause every believer must embrace. It is THE Cause that Jesus left us with before He ascended into heaven – His timeless command in Matthew 28:19 to ” Go and make disciples of all nations….” Jesus is calling His followers to invade and persuade, to make disciples who make disciples, until every nation has heard the good news.
So instead of using an ad campaign for Christ’s last and lasting mandate that was developed by Europeans centuries ago who wouldn’t know an iPod from an IM, let’s leverage teenagers’ interest in causes and unleash them for THE Cause of all causes – THE Cause of Christ. Let’s teach them to continually rely on God’s power and promises as they boldly take up His Cause and share His message. Go the THE Cause webpage for more specific free help on how to mobilize and equip your students.
Sharing Jesus’ message with the lost is the most impacting cause your teens can be about!