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51 per cent of Christians see missions as a 'calling' not a 'mandate'

by Kelly Valencia
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At least 51 per cent of US Christians think missions is a calling for some, not a mandate.

That's according to a new survey by Barna group conducted on 2,000 practising Christians. 

The group defines practising Christians as those "who have attended church within the past month and strongly agree their faith is very important to their life". 

The survey also showed a difference in the perception of missions between pastors and laypeople. 

At least 85 per cent of pastors believe "missions is a mandate for all Christians" while only 46 per cent of Christians agree with that statement. 

For Naomi Steinberg, from Church Mission Society, this research presents an opportunity to bring "some clarity" around mission. 

"One of the things that's encouraging in the research is how many pastors responded affirmatively, that mission should be a lot about having local people in local regions doing mission.
"I do think that what that research does present is that there's huge scope for opportunity to demythologize mission and a lot of ways and to really help people in their understanding of mission," she continued. 

The Barna poll also showed differences in what matters most in missions and what it should accomplish.

For 88 per cent of those pastors surveyed, equipping local leaders to preach the Gospel is more important than short-term missions, while only 46 per cent of Christians agreed with that statement. 

In 2018, Barna Group conducted another survey which suggested at least 51 per cent of Christians were not aware of the "Great Commission" term, often used to refer to Matthew 28:18-20, in which Jesus calls Christians to "go and make disciples of all nations". 

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